by Sukey HowardMay, 2005
Love in a time of strife
Another single mother with two adolescent sons accepts a stranger into her home in Brenda Rickman Vantrease's exceptional debut novel, The Illuminator, though it's a very different home in a very different time. The year is 1379 and Lady Kathryn, the willowy, aristocratic mistress of Blackingham Manor, takes in Finn, a master illuminator, and his beautiful daughter to gain protection from the local abbot. Set against a fascinating background of unrest and change, when the heretical John Wycliffe was trying to bring an English Bible to the masses, threatening the feudal order and the absolute power of the church, comes a tale of love man for woman, parent for child, mystic for Christ betrayal, treachery, loyalty and hope. Simon Jones reads this unabridged, richly colored amalgam of history and fiction and no one could do it better.