Book Review: Crusade by Linda Press Wulf

23 Apr

ImageWhen Prophet Stephen brings his children crusaders to Georgette’s town, she wants nothing more than to leave with them and serve God. Robert was a foundling and raised in an abbey where he was taught that the glory of God was everything. The journey to the Promised Land wasn’t what either of them expected, however–fraught with death and sickness, a less-than-moral prophet, constant hunger and tired feet, Stephen promises that the sea will open for them at Marseilles. So–what happens when it doesn’t?

I picked this book up because I am fascinated by the Crusades and pretty much anything to do with over-the-top religion. I’m not religious at all and never attended church, so stuff like the Crusades seem like something out of a fantasy world to me. I have never understood why anyone would undertake such a thing. (Though I feel I should also point out that I am not against any religion–I’m very open-minded and think everyone has the right to practice what they wish, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone!)

Anyway, I’d heard of the children’s crusade but had never read much about it. This is, of course, a fictionalized tale, but many aspects of it were very real, from the descriptions of the French countryside to what the young crusaders must have been feeling so far from home with all of the challenges thrown at them. What stood out, too, was Georgette’s and Robert’s faith in times of hardship. It was admirable rather than strange, which is how I read most books with extremely religious characters.

Anyway, Georgette, anyway, really grew on me. I think she was ten or eleven at the start, and over the year in which she was on the Crusade, she changed dramatically from a young girl with this romantic idea about serving God, to a hardened young woman who had seen too much and served God anyway. She took her every experience as a lesson, which I appreciated. Knowing the ending of this story already (historically), I couldn’t help but feel she was too eager to go at the start and too accepting of Stephen’s words. By the end, she isn’t nearly as naive about such things.

However, while I appreciated the plot between picking Georgette up and the sea not opening at Marseilles–sorry, was that a spoiler alert?–what came after came as a bit of a surprise, and I felt it was unnecessary. I would have liked the story to end with some more closure in regards to the Crusade. Instead, it goes off and becomes a story about Georgette’s and Robert’s extremely sudden relationship–as in, they’d barely said two words to each other before this–and then they’re married (she’s like twelve, but I mean, it’s the olden days), and then they’re running away  from being arrested and the book ends. There’s more to it than that of course, but the last few chapters seemed so disconnected from the rest of the book and sounded more like they were setting the reader up for a sequel than anything else.

Still, the book was enjoyable and a fascinating glimpse into history. If you have any interest in the crusades, I highly recommend it. 

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One Response to “Book Review: Crusade by Linda Press Wulf”

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  1. 2013: A Year of Reading in Review | More Than One Page - December 26, 2013

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