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Brigid of Kildare: A Novel Paperback – February 9, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bookish appraiser Alexandra Patterson uncovers the secret history of a renegade saint in Terrell's subdued third novel (after The Map Thief). In need of funds to spread their saint's message, the Sisters of St. Brigid decide to sell off a clutch of gold and jeweled relics. In her assessment of their value, Alexandra discovers an ancient manuscript that just might be the lost Book of Kildare, an illuminated manuscript that surpasses in beauty the Book of Kells. She confers with Trinity College professor and old flame Declan Lamb, who backs her hunch. As these contemporary amateur sleuths uncover the manuscript's mysterious origins, Terrell traces in a second plot line the life of Brigid and her faithful scribe, Decius. Despite a promising premise, Terrell's matter-of-fact storytelling and dry weaving of past and present leaves little mystery or magic for readers to pursue. (Mar.)
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"Brimming with historical detail, Brigid of Kildare is authentically told with a fascinating premise. Through interwoven and parallel stories, Heather Terrell imagines the discovery of one of history's lost Celtic treasures in an immediate and highly enjoyable fashion."—Susan Fraser King, author of Lady Macbeth

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (February 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345505123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345505125
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Heather Terrell is a lawyer with more than ten years' experience as a litigator at two of the country's premier law firms and for Fortune 500 companies. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Boston College with a focus in History, and a cum laude graduate of the Boston University School of Law. While practicing as a lawyer, Heather dreamed of a fantastical job unraveling the larger mysteries of time and uncovering the truths lurking in legend and myth -- and found it when she tried her hand at writing. She first wrote the historical novels The Chrysalis and The Map Thief, which will appear in more than ten countries, as well as Brigid of Kildare. She made the transition to young adult fiction with the series Fallen Angel -- and continues it now with The Books of Eva.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ctwink VINE VOICE on March 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Heather Terrel's "Brigid Of Kildare" is a warm book about friendship, discovery, and religion all wrapped around the historical setting of the distant past. The author follows the life of Saint Brigid, the possibly apocryphal Saint of Kildare, Ireland, and her attempts to not only win the souls of the pagan Irish for God, but also keep an independent Ireland from the clutches of the Roman Catholic Church while also looking to endear the church to the particularly Irish brand of Catholicism. In the present, we follow Alexandra Patterson as she works with the Sisters of St. Brigid to appraise relics that they would like to auction to raise funds for the convent. Along the way, Alexandra discovers the hidden 6th century Book of Kildare, a priceless illuminated manuscript pre-dating the Book of Kells, and two other scrolls of period written by a scribe named Decius. As the plot continue, we learn more about the lives of Brigid & Decius and their growing bond as well as Alexandra's efforts to date the manuscript and scrolls without violating either the Sister's trust in her or her belief system.

While I greatly enjoyed the book, I can see how people may feel that it is somewhat light fiction. The author somewhat skips across the surface of her characters and spends much more time developing the overall story rather than dwelling in certain places from time to time. However, the book is already 256 pages - a good number - and I can't think of anything that I'd cut to make room to flesh out the characters. As a history buff I enjoyed the "what if's" throughout as well as the historical references that the book offers to help the backstory.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By CelticWomanFanPiano VINE VOICE on February 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Wow! This book is why I rejoice in the fact that I'm an Amazon Vine member. A true treat to the reader this book is seamlessly told through the eyes of three different people. It opens with a letter from the Roman spy/scribe, Decius, and then leads us back in time to the early childhood of Saint Brigid (or should I say Bishop?) of Ireland. We are then effortlessly on the part of the author, brought to the present day through the narrative of Alex, an accomplished appraiser of antique relics. While at first I was a little hesitant to read a book that places much emphasis on the banned gospels that have received much attention since the publication of the blatantly inaccurate, even for historical fiction, Da Vinci Code; I discovered to my pleasantness that the author doesn't go to the length of discrediting the original Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John but rather instead embarks upon a story of the origination of the First image venerating the Virgin Mary. And it is all done in such an intriguing manner. The story opens like a mystery novel and never fails to keep the reader's interest. The author comes across as intimately knowledgeable of detailed history concerning, Rome, Ireland, and early Christianity. And she manages to imbue her novel with rich historical details in a manner that is entertaining, easily understood, and grasped by the reader. I couldn't put this book down and read it in one sitting. Even though, this makes the second novel about Brigid of Ireland that I have read. This one is by far the best. And it instills one with an appreciation for the strength and bravery of Celtic Women and how that model of womanhood can be inspiring today. I consider this book a must read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Flight Risk (The Gypsy Moth) VINE VOICE on February 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Brigid of Kildare" is not an earth-shaking novel; in fact, it positively plods along at times, using the formula popular at the moment of going back and forth in time (and feeding off the also-current trend toward exhuming old half-forgotten Christian sidelines), but it is overall fairly readable without giving the reader anything in the way of action. It wants to be a whisper of "The Da Vinci Code" but lacks any high drama; it did, however, present to me a character from antiquity that really existed, and who I ultimately ended up looking into a bit closer.

A religious-relic analyst, present-day Alex - a young lady who is searching for something really explosive in the way of a find - is given the task of authenticating relics being safeguarded at a rundown abbey in Ireland. Purporting to be the legacy of sixth-century St Brigid, the nun-curator in charge wants them proven beyond any doubt with the purpose of auctioning them off to a proper bidder for the betterment of the abbey. Alex, with a good reputation from a spotless firm of authenticators, is tapped for this. Upon getting an opportunity to really examine the relics without the eagle eye of the nun watching her every move, she discovers something she never imagined - and which takes her all the way to the Vatican to research, with another investigator she isn't sure she trusts.

The story veers between Alex in the present day and a fictionalized imagining of St Brigid herself, as the first female priest/abbess of Catholic Ireland. Brigid desperately wants the Pope to recognize the power of women, and especially Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the Catholic faith, but she is running into a serious stone wall in this regard.
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