Lately, I have had considerable trouble concentrating in math class. I think and think and think, but most often I think about books and the characters in them. During the days I was reading The Hawk and the Dove, this problem became exceptionally sharp: in my mind, I always saw scenes from the book, such as Father Peregrine kneeling in front of poor Brother Thomas. It certainly gave me a lot of trouble!
The Hawk and the Dove, by Penelope Wilcock, tells the tale of a mother who recounts beautiful tales of monks every night to her daughter Melissa. The tales she weaves are of a certain Father Columba (said Father Peregrine) and the little but humbling scrapes his monk brothers find themselves in.
This book was amazingly vivid. The descriptions, although short, were stunning. Reading the description of Cecily, Melissa’s younger sister, roaring away because she was not taken seriously, filled my mind with the sound of hysterical crying, and I saw Cecily’s pretty little face all red with tears and anger. Indeed, reading these descriptions was better than watching the tales happen. Some images remain imprinted in my mind, such as Father Peregrine’s wry smile at the end of Chapter Eight or the three steaming pies presented to the novice monks at the end of Chapter Three. The image of three horrified monks, standing alone in the dark, deserted chapel will not leave me for a long time, I know it. The descriptions are too vivid to allow it.
This book was able to manipulate my emotions like never before. The compassionate, humbling stories made me close my eyes in horror or grin in mischievous delight. The Brothers’ and Fathers’ powerful characteristics shared in the emotional dance that I experienced: Brother Andrew, the hot-tempered, lovable old Scot jumping at me from all places, and Father Chad’s shy, timid ways provoking sympathetic smiles.
The Hawk and the Dove was full of small but colorful word paintings. With its scenes and characters imprinted in your mind, it’s hard not to think of Father Peregrine during math. But Melissa, the narrator of the tales, confronted the same problem. Her mother explains that she only needs to shut the imaginary green door that leads to the imaginary garden where Father Peregrine’s stories thrive.
You can buy this book here.