“This is a well-written (fictional, of course) memoir, by a girl named Sylvia, of her early life leading up to the 13th century Children's Crusade across Europe and the trials and tribulations which occurred during the journey.
The first two-thirds of the book concentrates on her life prior to the Crusade: first her drunken, raping father and dead mother; then her life as a traveling performer; her life as a nun; and, her life as an ex-communicated, then re-enstated member of the Catholic Church of Rome. The final third of the book concerns her role as an organizer and spiritual leader in the Children's Crusade. Though little is known about this scantly mentioned historical event, existing accounts testify that the children were attempting to recreate the flight of God's children from Egypt by journeying to Jerusalem.
I am a huge fan of Bryce Courtenay's books. This is the first of his books, that I've read anyway, which concern a time and event so far into the past. Typically, his books are WWI, WWII or Vietnam/Korean war era. While I don't dislike this story, because I did enjoy the story quite a bit, I just didn't feel that typical Courtenay'esque-ness. Hard to explain. Maybe because the entire book was written from the perspective of a young girl, rather than his more common young Australian/South Africa lads (with interjected sections from the POV of a female). It was experimental for him and I'm sure a very challenging departure from his normal authors voice (I have yet to read "Jessica" so I could be entirely off the mark here). Anyway, the gamble worked but it still, in my opinion, could be further honed. A recommended read for fans of medieval historical fiction.”
Linda I wrote this review Thursday, November 22, 2012.