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Beloved Pilgrim

BelovedPilgrimTitle:  Beloved Pilgrim

Author:  Christopher Hawthorne Moss

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Length:  304 pages

Rating:  A List

Up All Night Satisfaction

Up All Night Satisfaction

Blurb:  A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

2nd Edition

At the time of the earliest Crusades, young noblewoman Elisabeth longs to be the person she’s always known is hidden inside. When her twin brother perishes from a fever, Elisabeth takes his identity to live as a man, a knight. As Elias, he travels to the Holy Land, to adventure, passion, death, and a lesson that honor is sometimes found in unexpected places.

Elias must pass among knights and soldiers, survive furious battle, deadly privations, moral uncertainty, and treachery if he’ll have any chance of returning to his newfound love in the magnificent city of Constantinople.

1st edition by Nan Hawthorne published by Shieldwall Books, February 2011

Review:  A gripping war tale, well written, expressive and inclusive of the middle ages era with descriptive battle scenes and how lives were lead during those brutal times. Love is lost, taken by death, and new love is found, oaths are taken as pledges are broken, beliefs born anew as hopes are shredded.

Eliasbeth/Elias with all her heart knows she is, who he is, and when his twin perishes an opportunity presents itself, he takes charge of it with his all. Elias’ follows the path set; he adjusts to wearing the weight of the armour and the ways of men, fairly confidently and with determination to find news of their father. Some hiding is necessary, with the risk to his identity being compromised, which Elias resolves with the much needed help and support from his Squire Albrecht.

I feel in love with Elias, his discovering the beauty and love of women. Finding a woman to love him as he does her, heart and soul. Elias’ so sort after freedom does come but with determination and defeat, defending his people and those who travelled the gruelling journey to Jerusalem, the challenges he took on. Keeping his honour and his promises as best he could. There are moments of naivety, as Elias grows learning of life beyond his childhood.

“Maliha, I love you. I will try to come back. But I have to warn them. I cannot be responsible for their deaths if I can stop it. I owe you and Tacetin that.” ‘I owe myself’ – Elias

I found Elias was brave but afraid, fearful for those he loved, very often placing himself in danger to save comrades and those he felt were too vulnerable to protect themselves. Elias is not particularly a heroic character, but admirable for sure, he makes valiant attempts after he becomes aware of the consequences for another, caused by his fears. I loved that he believed in who he was and would redeem himself where possible, honest where he could be. Other knights took notice they gave him respect, and despite his youth they considered Elias to be the man he claimed to be.

Albrecht the ever loyal, remarkable squire to Elias, he is a beautiful young man with strength of the heart and mind. Albrecht serves and sacrifices much for Elias, protecting and knowing Elias’ secret, as Elias keeps Albrecht’s own secret locked tight to his chest. The pair make the pilgrimage, swear fealty to each other, much of Elias’ survival is due to the service and teaching of Albrecht. Both young men experience and share guilt, shame, longing, grief and uncertainty.

There is a love theme; the love is displayed in many ways throughout the story from camaraderie and friendships to new lovers and experiences. The love scenes are delicate and well thought out, although romantic episodes are short they are effective.

For those readers who have a fondness for horses, throughout Gauner, Elias’ horse is remarkable. A brave war horse which served his master with a steadfast and courageous spirit.

A definite addition to my to be read again shelf! Overall a well written historical tale, giving to the possibilities of transgender men taking part in a war, homosexuality and Transgender nonacceptance in the Middle ages, the story also includes marital abuse, brutality and exploitation of women and children, along with pilfering and rape.

Reviewed by Teddy


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