Monday, April 4, 2016

Hawk of May

by Gillian Bradshaw

Story summary: A retelling of  some of the Arthurian legends from Sir Gawain's point of view (called Gwalchmai here), and with historical accuracy.

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • Epic, personal, inspiring, gripping.
  • Though it's not a Christian book, I found this very inspiring in a specifically Christian way.

And Why You Might Not:
  • It's yet another Arthurian retelling, and there are so many of them. Really I think that shouldn't matter. If it's fabulous, it's fabulous. But it might turn you off if you're tired of so much Arthur.

Thoughts: I wanted to do this one justice in my writing of it, and I found it very difficult. My blogging schedule got set back considerably because of that. In the end, I just have to go for it, right? So here goes:

I almost think I should have read this at an earlier age--not because for it's for younger people, but because I think it would have inspired me and become something that influenced my Faith and the way I viewed world. Not that it didn't do that now, but to a lesser extent.
The point of this, though, is to say that I loved it. I loved how hints appeared of the same Faith and purpose that I hold, but in a lovely subtle and non-explicit way. I loved how Christianity itself was portrayed in a complex but not negative light. I loved the comradery between warriors, the charisma of the king, the fight against seductive darkness. Most of all, I loved the use of Light.
Basically, it hit all the right notes for me. New author find!

Side note: It was funny reading this right after Miss Pym Disposes. That one was all female characters with one or two brief appearances by males. This was exactly the opposite. And I think in both it worked well. (I'm not one to be a stickler for passing the Bechdel test, although it makes me very happy when it does.)

Grade: 4 1/2 stars

If You Like This, You Might Also Like:
  • See my list of Arthurian recs (with an emphasis on Sir Gawain) for most of my recommendations.
  • Since there will be so many good recs there, I'm just going to generally recommend Rosemary Sutcliff's books, as she is possibly the best historical fiction writer I know, especially with her Roman-Britain books.
  • And this recommendation is a little unusual, but Gwalchmai's following of the light inspired me in a bit of a similar way to John's following of the Island (and defeat of the dragon) in The Pilgrim's Regress by C. S. Lewis. I'm not sure what similarity I'm picking up on, exactly, but I don't want to pass up a chance to recommend TPR, because I love it.

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