An almost perfect blend of history, mythology, and excellent storytelling, Donna Fletcher Crow’s Glastonbury recreates ancient Britain from the time of Druids to the dissolution of the monasteries in the Middle Ages. The story splits into separate books, each complete in itself and each contributing an essential ingredient to the whole. It's a long read, certainly, but a rewarding one with such perfect stopping points you can pick it up again week after week, following tales of slavery and Roman rule with the curious wonders of Camelot and the quest for the Holy Grail.
I’ve always loved English history and this novel satisfies that love as well as intriguing me delightfully with its depiction of early Christianity. Building on legends that Joseph of Arimathea came to England after the death of Christ, carrying the Holy Grail of Arthurian dreams, it invites the reader to wonder what is the grail, and who is Arthur? Is there power in the land? Donna Fletcher Crow deftly weaves a wealth of well-researched detail into a story that continually astounds with sudden awe and the caught breath of surprised recognition. There are no glaring signposts to remembered characters here; just wise and well-drawn images that bring those characters to life before you've fully recognized who you might be seeing. Glastonbury encompasses the detail and emotional power of a Rosemary Sutcliffe novel (one of my childhood favorites), the honest faith of a Taylor Caldwell book (favorites of my teenage years), and the scope and depth of an Edward Rutherford tome (one of my more recent favorites). It is is hugely satisfying, beautifully researched and convincingly told—a novel to read and reread and happily recommend.
Disclosure: I was lucky enough to by an ecopy when it was free but I’ll have to look out for it in paperback now as I want a copy for my bookshelf.
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