Plot: This story takes place in England and places throughout Europe in the 12th century. The Christians are trying to regain land now occupied by Jews and Moors. The role of women is incredibly limited here; according to Christian belief, women are "the cause of all evil." Christians, in general, are not shown in a good light in this book. However, descriptions of the living conditions, food, daily work and battle are both detailed and intriguing.
Prose/Style: The text is smooth, the chronology is clear (each chapter states its month or season and year), and there are few diversions or errors.
Originality: A historical novel about this period, about a strong young woman who doesn't fit the 12th century Christian mold, is unique and fresh. For its genre, this feels original. The material about herbal healing is fascinating.
Character Development: Cate is incredibly mature for a young teenager, but, given the times, her lifespan would have been short so this may be realistic. She is deeply portrayed, if a bit too perfect, wise and kind. Her two brothers, Willard and Sperling, are extremely strict Christians and, in the end, both choose religion over family.
Date Submitted: April 01, 2019
The Way of Glory is a riveting read from first page to last, as it expertly traces the trajectories of several compelling characters caught up in the Crusades. As the protagonist, Cate will steal your heart; she's as complex a fourteen-year-old as you will ever meet, and the fate she struggles against is a complicated and often frightening vortex of forces, made ever richer by the intense evocation and very thoughtful depictions. This is a remarkable novel.
. . .Author Patricia Boomsma creates a superbly powerful tale as the story of Cate's travels and settlement unwinds. I have never read a more mature or powerful fourteen-year-old protagonist, even in historical ﬁction, and the way Cate faces up to her realities and explores her faith had a real Joan of Arc atmosphere to it in terms of her strength. The racial tensions of the tale are far from simple, considered from all sides, and written with a modern mindset alongside the historical accuracy. The research is not heavily laid into the tale, but is evident from the little details that really make it come to life on every page. Overall, I'd highly recommend The Way of Glory not just for historical ﬁction fans, but for fans of personal drama and racial drama everywhere.
One of the many impressive things about The Way of Glory is how lightly it wears its scrupulous research. This fine novel invites you to lose yourself to the compelling character and tumultuous life of a young woman trying to find God and love at the heart of a crusade rooted in greed and hate. This is a remarkable debut by a writer to watch.
The Way of Glory convincingly portrays a place, a time, and a people vastly different from our own. Historical fiction is a fantastically difficult genre to get right, but Pat Boomsma manages it with aplomb.
The Way of Glory by Patricia J. Boomsma won the Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book (Fiction) at the annual Benjamin Franklin Awards of the Independent Book Publishers Association held in Chicago on April 5, 2019.