This May of 1142, spring has begun late; winter's prolonged grip has been reflected in human affairs. King Stephen, freed by a prisoner exchange after _The Pilgrim of Hate_, raised the Empress' hopes by falling ill, but her move to Oxford was premature; he's now in fine fettle, picking off the empress' outposts. While these events, and the war at large, have little effect on this story, they'll be relevant in the next book, _The Hermit of Eyton Forest_. Cadfael's worries are more immediate, but easing now that the crops have finally been sown and it looks as though the roses will be out by the 22nd of June, the feast of St. Winifred's translation.
The Widow Perle - 25-year-old Judith Vestier that was - lost her husband to a terrible fever four years ago, despite everything Cadfael could do, then lost her only child in miscarriage shortly thereafter. In the depths of her grief, she couldn't bear to stay in the house where they'd been happy, so she deeded the place to the abbey in exchange for an annual rent of one white rose from her favorite rosebush, to be paid into her hand each June 22nd. (As heiress to the Vestier clothier business, Judith has ample property even without the house; she moved in 'over her shop', as it were, with her widowed aunt and her cousin Miles.Read more ›
In many ways the plot is actually quite trite, female widow needs husband who's not interested in her money. But the way Peters puts her elements together is unique to her and our hero. Her stories are just a way to convey her love of history, not only the factual information but also the mood and atmosphere. It is the latter part that she does so well.
In many ways the plot is actually quite trite, female widow needs husband who's not interested in her money. But the way Peters puts her elements together is unique to her and our hero.