UK Christian Bookshops Directory: Christian Book Reviews: The Passionate Troubadour
The Passionate Troubadour The Passionate Troubadour
A Medieval Novel about Francis of Assisi

Edward M. Hays
ISBN 9780939516698 (0939516691)
Ave Maria Press, 2004

Category: Fiction
Subcategory: Historical

This is a remarkable novel based on a depth of knowledge about the life and times of Francis of Assisi. It is written with passion and drama, full of the joy of life expressed by Francis himself.

It begins with Francis as a teenager on a business trip with his father and fellow merchants to France. It describes his encounters there with a beautiful young girl and with the gypsy who sells him his first lute. The colourful story is told with wonderfully descriptive evocative language. It includes versions of some of his compositions - songs and poems.

Francis' romantic yearnings to be a knight and his experiences of war and prison are related with emotional intensity. His constant desire for his own father's approval as well as serving his heavenly father is poignant. His encounters with a hermit monk who becomes his mentor are described with sensitivity, as are his struggles to understand God's call on his life as his followers increase in number and his early dream of complete poverty seems to be compromised. His delight in Clare and her sisters and the third order are related with obvious joy.

The reception of the stigmata and Francis' increasing ill-health and treatment are described in agonizing detail. This is a very powerful novel, colourful and joyful, free and yet passionately intense like Francis himself. A wonderful introduction (of more than 600 pages) to the world of Francis of Assisi.

Sue Groom, December 2006

The Revd Sue Groom is the Director of Deanery Licensed Ministry for the Kensington Episcopal Area of London. Before this she was Vicar of St Matthew's, Yiewsley and also served as the Reader Training Officer for the Willesden Episcopal Area. She is the author of Linguistic Analysis of Biblical Hebrew (Paternoster Press, 2003).

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