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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Franciscan Media (June 23, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616367164
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616367169
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"MacDonald’s prose is elegant and clear throughout in this engaging examination of the historical figure Margery Kempe." — Kirkus Reviews

“A work of scholarship and the imagination.” — Bloomberg News

“A fascinating work. The trials, pilgrimages, weeping, and relentless uproar that surrounded Kempe are all very much brought to life by MacDonald, a gifted writer and story-teller. All very believable, and even inspiring. If you want a very different summer read, quick and engaging, about someone important, about something important, you should pick up Skirting Heresy.” — National Review

“Elizabeth MacDonald has done us a genuine service in recovering and translating into a modern, page-turning narrative this very unusual story of a world which was rent by conflicts very like those we face today.” — Aleteia

"Elizabeth MacDonald vividly brings to life both the world of medieval England and even more impressively, the heroic Margery Kempe, whose insights and courage speak to the modern world. This book will absorb and enlighten you." —Steve Forbes, editor, Forbes magazine

“Elizabeth MacDonald likely would hate being compared to a saint, but her writing here proves once again, her own inherent goodness. Few journalists reach such an understanding in life. Then again, few journalists come close to what my friend 'Lizzy' has done in life, and the subjects she tackles routinely in life.... Quite a book. Quite a subject. Quite an author.” —Neil Cavuto, host of Cavuto and Your World With Neil Cavuto

"Elizabeth MacDonald is a gifted reporter — her ability to weave passion and truth together shines in Skirting Heresy. MacDonald’s account of Margery Kempe’s life is a compelling must-read story for religious readers and history buffs alike.” — Greta Van Susteren, host of On the Record with Greta Van Susteren

“One of the best historical narratives I’ve read in a long time. Elizabeth MacDonald has skillfully delivered a gripping, bold new take on a captivating historical figure, Margery Kempe, a story that shows what was happening in Catholic England before Joan of Arc was executed.” —Larry Kudlow, anchor, CNBC

“Elizabeth MacDonald’s story about Margery Kempe is an amazing historical perspective of a fascinating character that reads like a mystery you can’t put down, full of passion and intrigue. I loved learning more about Margery—a strong medieval woman of faith taking a stand for what she believed in against all odds.”
Gretchen Carlson, host of The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson

"Elizabeth MacDonald portrays Kempe as a feminist before her time. Writing in a clear, no-nonsense style, MacDonald, a business reporter, weaves medieval history with material from Kempe's memoir, dictated in approximately 1436. This memoir, The Book of Margery Kempe, is considered the first English autobiography. That it was fashioned by a woman is another first. ...At this time, women were not allowed to preach the Gospel and couldn't travel without men. Yet Kempe managed to do both. She made several pilgrimages and traveled to the Holy Land. She chastised her neighbors' wrongdoings as well as that of town and church leaders. If she saw fault with the actions of mayors, priests and bishops, she let them know about it. She was never one to keep her thoughts to herself, and as seen in this entertaining biography, that was a good thing."—Diane Scharper, National Catholic Reporter

An engrossing and important revival of a timeless life story, of an heroic woman, Margery Kempe. MacDonald, like her subject, is a truth teller in the modern sense, ever eager to shine a light on what needs to be known.”— RealClearMarkets

About the Author

Elizabeth MacDonald is an editor and on-air personality at the FOX Business Network as well as on FOX News and has won more than a dozen journalism awards. She has covered business news for two-and-a-half decades, including at the Wall Street Journal and as an editor at Forbes magazine, where she created the World’s Most Powerful Women annual ranking. MacDonald has spent time working with Mother Teresa’s community in Calcutta, volunteering at an AIDS clinic in Harlem, and engaged in other ministries of outreach in the New York metropolitan area.

Customer Reviews

This book held my interest from start to finish.
Was pleasantly surprised by this well written story of Margery Kempe.
Jon Jordan
Ms MacDonald did a wonderful job in her research.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By ProfessorF on June 17, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I haven't read a popular book in a long time. As a professor, I spend most of my time reading technical books and journals. But when I heard that one of my favorite business journalists had written a book, I just had to check it out.

Of course, I thought it would be a business book, but to my surprise it was a non-fiction piece about the life and times of a saint of the Anglican church -- Margery Kempe.

I won't spoil it for you, I'll just say it was fantastic. Emac is a great writer and her descriptions transport you back in time to old English towns and to the landscapes of the Holy Land and Rome. You really feel bad not only for poor Margery but for her husband and the townspeople who had to put up with her eccentric behavior--the constant weeping and preaching.

I'll close by saying this. We live in a world where people entertain themselves by playing video games and watching visual fx-laden movies. Elizabeth MacDonald's writing reminds us that a well-written story can entertain us in our imagination, far better than visual eye candy.

Highly recommended.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Sondra McClendon on July 2, 2014
Format: Paperback
I have found the story of Margery Kempe so fascinating! Ever since finishing the modern translation of her medieval English autobiography... it's been my mission to read more and more about heresy, judicial history, and medieval society in Europe. When this book Skirting Heresy came out, I was attracted by the applause for a straightforward, journalistic, and novel-life read. Compared to The Book of Margery Kempe (Penguin Classics) and Trial by Fire and Water: The Medieval Judicial Ordeal, this is definitely an easy and entertaining read. This is an unforgettable story of an infamous woman who was repeatedly arrested by the Catholic Church and always escaped death. Her contemporary, Joan d'Arc was not so fortunate...
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Format: Paperback
'Skirting Heresy' written by Elizabeth MacDonald is a book that speaks about the life of Margery Kempe, a woman who became known as mystic from 15th century and also author of the first autobiography ever written in English 'The Book of Margery Kempe' which she dictated to a priest.

When recently her book was digitized by the British Library, the story of woman who had 14 children and embarked on pilgrimages to Holy Land, Jerusalem and Bethlehem, Santiago de Compostela and Rome, which was previously known only to a small number of people with regard to only one copy, became available to a wide range of people.

Kempe was many times arrested for heresy because of the accusations of the Catholic Church, she was almost burnt alive as many women these days, therefore her book remains as a record of the difficult times for women who lived during the medieval times of 14th and 15th centuries.

In her book reader can learn about the events that marked years in which Kempe lived, such as the Great Schism, plague and Hundred Years' War, and though her historical role is yet to be explored, the life of this extraordinary woman in turbulent times is certainly worth the reader's time.

Elizabeth MacDonald's story about Margery Kempe although based on real events, due to the excitement and mystique of events about which author is telling in her story, can be read as fiction; therefore this interesting book written in journalistic style is certainly worth reading, whether you're interested in the Middle Ages or the life of this almost unknown religious woman who was a participant in events that marked her world, but also led to the creation of our own.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Rochester on July 13, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Knowing Elizabeth Mac Donald from Fox Financial
network I was anxious to read her book.
I know her as brilliant, yet down to earth.
I found her fictionalized story of the saint Margery Kempe
both interesting and amusing. What a character Margery was,
the mother of 14 children and yet a saint of the Anglican church.
She was well painted as a real person by MacDonald.
Her marriage discord, her annoying habits and her obnoxious,
overbearing, emotional preaching and weeping drove people nuts.
Kempe's English village and later her pilgrimage group to
the Holy Land became exasperated with her. Even in
15th century England Margery was a contradiction.
Today I fear that this, emotional woman known for
seeing visions would have been diagnosed schizophrenic.

Margery's 2,000 mile trip to the Holy Land was unbelievable!
Her husband stayed home and kept the 14 children, maybe he
was a saint also! She took only her maid. The Holy Land trip was
amazing. When Margery saw the city of Jerusalem she fell off
her donkey in a faint. Through out her life, even into old age,
she was ostracized, banned, and shunned for her weeping and
loud display of reverence and love of Jesus.

I see the author's respect and adoration for Margery Kemp.
However, her sense of humor shines through every paragraph.
All I knew about the English Reformation period was that in1492
Columbus sailed the ocean blue---to take escaping pilgrims to America.
The setting for this story was informative of the medieval time in history.
The facts of Margery Kempe were fully told but in a delightful and
readable way.
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