Etheldreda, Princess of East Anglia, Queen of Northumbria, Saint of Ely: Born Ad 630, Died Ad 679

Moyra Caldecott, Author Arkana $0 (215p) ISBN 978-1-85063-070-8
British writer Caldecott's fictional rendition of the life of Etheldreda, a seventh-century Anglo-Saxon saint, is offered less as a historical novel than as a devotional tract, a hagiography. The facts, set against a background of war and plague, are here: Etheldreda's childhood as Princess of East Anglia, her love of learning at convent school, her bowing to the political necessity of two arranged marriages despite her vow of chastity, her ascension as Queen of Northumbria and her death after becoming abbess of Ely. Not enough emerges here of her spiritual story: the author relates each sequence of Etheldreda's life in a terse style that relies on simple, traditional imagery. It's as if, like her subject, Caldecott denies luxuries available to her. The result is a character who never comes alive. (November)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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