Friday, September 9, 2016

Book Review: The Revolt

The Revolt. Douglas Bond. 2016. P&R. 240 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: August 26, 1346 was my birthday. I mused on how many other men--French or English--had birthdays on this day.

Premise/plot: The Revolt is historical fiction set in England in the fourteenth century. It has alternating narrators. The first narrator is Hugh West'all, an Oxford scholar, who along with a fellow named Alfred, becomes friends and colleagues with John Wycliffe. Hugh, for example, eventually joins those recruited by Wycliffe to translate the Bible into the English language. And during this process--both his translation work and his relationship with Wycliffe--he has an "aha" moment where he realizes what grace is and that it is FREE. The second narrator is Willard. His life is also touched by Wycliffe's teaching. But his journey to faith is something different. He is a peasant carrying heavy responsibilities: since his father's death, he's caring for his mother and sister too. And surviving isn't all that easy. Oh, and, did I mention THE PLAGUE?!?!

My thoughts: I really loved this one. Perhaps not cover to cover and every single word. But it was LOVE all the same. I enjoyed spending time with Willard and his sister. His sister was a sweet, tender, generous soul, almost too good to be believed. Willard could never be described as sweet and tender. But he's a man with deep, strong convictions. Also some anger issues! He sees all the injustices in the world and he wants to do something but can't because he's a peasant, a nobody. I also enjoyed spending time with Hugh and Alfred. This friendship seemed genuine, and, it added some much needed humanity to the book. The Hugh chapters needed "rescuing" from so much reflection. Luckily, Hugh has Alfred and later John Wycliffe.

Finally I have to say that I LOVED spending time with John Wycliffe. I loved reading about Wycliffe preaching and teaching to the crowds--of ALL classes. I loved reading about his desire to make the Bible accessible to ANYONE AND EVERYONE in English.

I would definitely recommend this one if you love history or historical fiction.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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