A Vision of Light

Judith Merkle Ridley, Author, Judith Reilly, Author Delacorte Press $19.95 (442p) ISBN 978-0-440-50109-1
In this bouncy first novel, 14th century Englishwoman Margaret of Ashbury heeds a ``voice'' commanding her to compose her life story. Her kindly old husband Roger Kendall pays for her to dictate her memoirs to unfrocked Brother Gregory. Margaret's scribe grumbles initially about the story's ``trivia, and everyday matters,'' but her adventures win him over. First married at 14 to a sadistic fur merchantreputed to be the Devilwho leaves her for dead during the Plague, Margaret survives to become apprenticed to the herbalist Mother Hilde. In trances of divine light Margaret gains the healing gift, and envisions a forged, steel-fingered weapon for the soldierly work of midwifery. But these forceps and Margaret's powers stir the envy of priests and male doctors, and she is forced to clear herself of witchcraft. The minor characters are stiff and the dialogue is stilted at times, but details of clothing, crafts and interiors, as well as period scenes peopled with robbers, flagellants and strolling players are well realized. Major ad/promo; author tour. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1988
Release date: 12/01/1988
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