Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sand Through the Hourglass

Pilgrim Footprints on the Sands of Time by Sylvia Nilsen
:December 2, 2013 by LightEye Editions
I've read a lot of historical fiction where characters go on pilgrimages. But yet, there's never been very much detail to it. Instead it's normally a sentence or two saying so-and-so went on a pilgrimage to a certain place for some reason, without really telling the story of what it took to get there. Until I started this book, I never thought about the fact that it's a narrative I've been missing out on, but this book finally filled me.

This book feels incredibly well researched. The author has gone on many of her own pilgrimages, and is able to bring an authenticity to a historical tale, something you don't always expect. She definitely wants us to have as much information as possible about this time and what was going on in the world, but it doesn't always quite work. The story is told from the point of view of William, who is on his first pilgrimage from England to Spain. Except while the story is told from him, in present tense, there's often details that he wouldn't have known provided, items about a wall being finished in 5 years or the fact that 50 years from now a certain synagogue would be a church. They all seemed to be true details, and if the story was told as William looking back on his life it would have worked. But instead it almost felt as if the 4th wall with the reader was broken.

Also, while this is an adult historical fiction novel, there was a bit of insta-love I'd expect from a YA book. Yes, the characters were teens, so it could be explained. But still, it's hard to really care about a couple when they're both in love with each other before a single word has been spoken between them.

This book was an interesting idea, and definitely fills its niche. If you've ever been curious about what it may have been like to go on a pilgrimage in the middle ages, then this could answer those questions. But unfortunately, as anything more than that, it didn't quite work for me.


Disclosure: I was provided this book through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. All opinions expressed are my own.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry the book was a miss with you, but I think it would be for me too..."in love with each other before a single word has been spoken between them"? Strange!