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The Hardest Thing to Do (The Hawk and the Dove) Paperback – July 7, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: The Hawk and the Dove (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway; 1 edition (July 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433526557
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433526558
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #682,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“When I reached the last page of The Hardest Thing to Do, I experienced an overwhelming sense of peace. Abbot John and his monks are not the only ones whose hearts and lives are ripe for change; Penelope Wilcock’s legion of readers may find themselves altered as well. Mercy, grace, and forgiveness are woven throughout the story with a deft hand, as we meet a community of God’s faithful servants who are genuinely flawed yet always sympathetic. The descriptive passages are poetic, and the medieval details evocative, with a rich sense of time and place. I offer my highest praise and most heartfelt recommendation: you will love this novel!”
Liz Curtis Higgs, New York Times best-selling author, Mine is the Night and Bad Girls of the Bible

“Penelope Wilcock has written a novel as deep and contemplative as the monks whose stories she tells. Her intimate knowledge of medieval monastic life sweeps you into the past, yet the struggles she chronicles are timeless. This book is not toss-away entertainment; it’s literature that pours from a poetic soul. Putting it down at the end of the day was the hardest thing to do.”
Bryan M. Litfin, Professor of Theology, Moody Bible Institute; author, The Sword, The Gift, and Getting to Know the Church Fathers

“Beautiful, profound, moving, and spiritual, this book is written out of the deep well that is Penelope Wilcock. As the reader is drawn to live in the ancient monastery of St. Alcuin and share the daily challenges of the community struggling to receive the grace of God and bring it into their world, each one of us comes to ask: 'What is the hardest thing to do?' and, 'Can I do this, with God's help?'”
Donna Fletcher Crow, author, Glastonbury: The Novel of Christian England and The Monastery Murders

“James the apostle wrote that ‘mercy triumphs over judgement,’ but some of the brothers of St. Alcuin’s Abbey find vengenance more satisfying than forgiveness in Wilcock’s delightful tale of medieval monastic life. The Hardest Thing to Do is wonderfully accurate to time and place, and perceptive in its treatment of the strife which can afflict even the people of God.”
Mel Starr, author, The Unquiet Bones, A Corpse at St. Andrew’s Chapel, and A Trail of Ink 

"I am encouraged that your new book will be released soon—it's like the promise of spring to me—something precious to hold in my heart until the day comes."
Dorothy Bode, mother to eleven (so far...), Minneapolis, Minnesota

About the Author

Penelope Wilcock is the author of over a dozen books of fiction and poetry, including The Hawk and the Dove trilogy. She lives a quiet life on the southeast coast of England with her husband and is the mother of five children.


More About the Author

My aim in writing is to make goodness attractive. I love simple human kindness and gentleness, and I am moved by human vulnerability. I am fascinated by the power that is within our grasp to lift one another up, to heal and strengthen and encourage each other - our power to bless.
In the novels I write, I think of the reader sitting down to enjoy a book, the door of their imagination open wide to allow the story in to influence and shape their spirit. I accept the responsibility that confers as a great privilege, and it is my intention that when you put down any book of mine at the end of reading it, you will feel hopeful, peaceful and comforted, more ready to look on your fellow human beings with compassion and see their point of view.
I live in the English town on Hastings, on East Sussex's south coast. I write a blog called Kindred of the Quiet Way.
I would like to encourage you who are reading this to take the trouble to review on Amazon the books you read - as a reader I find customer reviews immensely helpful in making up my mind whether to purchase a book, and as a writer I find readers' reviews so valuable as feedback and food for thought.

Customer Reviews

There's also a useful glossary of archaic vocabulary.
KmVictorian
It would be easy to say that the book is showing that forgiveness is the hardest thing to do.
Rita Sydney
The Hardest Thing To Do is the fourth book in the Hawk and the Dove series.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mimi on October 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
Set in 14th-century England, in a monastery which until recently was headed by a most beloved man, Father John is overwhelmed and humbled by his new responsibilities as abbot. He has served in the infirmary for many years before becoming abbot, and so has cultivated the attributes of kindness and mercy more than most men. He will need both as a man from another monastery, one known for its cruelty and arrogance, has fled from his burnt-out monastery and the hatred of the community to find asylum in their walls. The difficulty lies in the fact that that man, William, and the previous abbot were enemies. William had humiliated Father Peregrine and used him to assert his selfish will. Now he is needing to ask for mercy from those who love the good Father but he has yet to shed his pride and arrogance. Can the good brothers find a way to forgive him and extend mercy to him?
The only thing that kept this from being a 5-star review was that the language didn't always fit the era. I had to keep reminding myself that this was the 14th century.
Written in a gently spiritual way, with interesting characters, this book will appeal to those who like books such as Jan Karon's Mitford series. It is deceptively short, being only 245 pages long but requiring more time to read because of thought-provoking comments. There is no rushing through this book. I highly recommend reading the Hawk and the Dove trilogy first.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Catkin92 on July 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
'The Hardest Thing To Do' is the fourth masterpiece in a series of spiritually moving novels that portray the working, religious and, most poignant, community life of the brothers at St Alcuin.
This novel sees the brothers faced with a morally up heaving decision as they debate whether or not to admit an enemy Prior into their abbey.
With most of the brothers bandying for justice, the onus lies with the newly appointed Abbot John to hold out for mercy for the sake, not only of the maimed and despised wolf, but also for the peace and composure of his flock of brothers as they journey through the turmoil and anguish of the hardest thing to do; knowing the right thing to do.

Penelope Wilcock's novels flow with a poetry and symbolism that soothes and calms the reader the instant the book is opened. The gentle, though challenging life of the monks, set against the rugged beauty of the English moors, makes the reader forget the troubles and demands of daily life as they become absorbed, transformed and left thoroughly refreshed. Dipping into a novel of Penelope Wilcock's is like sliding into a cool river on a burning summer's day; it provides relief, comfort, and most of all, peace.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Yogamom67 on August 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is the first of three sequels to The Hawk and the Dove trilogy by Penelope Wilcox, a writer of Christian fiction who resides in Hastings, Sussex. I received an ARC of this book as part of LibraryThing's early reviewers' program.

The novel takes place at a monastery during the 14th century and deals with the members of the monastery's dilemma when an old enemy comes to them seeking refuge. Can they trust him? Should they trust him?

This is a quiet, thoughtful novel. The chapters are short and while this aspect makes it easy to read, I must admit that I still had a hard time getting into the story. This is one of only a handful of Christian fiction novels that I've ever read. The tone was somewhat pious and I had trouble relating to the characters in the book.

I like historical fiction and have read Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, both historical novels dealing with life is monasteries. These novels appealed to me far more than The Hawk and the Dove. If you are a reader of historical fiction, this is one I'd skip. However, if you like Both Christian and historical fiction - this might be a novel worth checking out!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. A. Boswell VINE VOICE on November 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This review is for The Hardest Thing to Do by Penelope Wilcock. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. the characters were well established, and I enjoyed getting to know them. The struggles they faced were quite believable, and I found myself wanting to read more to see how everything would resolve. Overall, I highly recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By nonpareil TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 18, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Hardest Thing to Do: I kept getting the feeling as I was reading, that the author was basically pushing Christian values rather than really writing a novel. That's OK with me - I mean I'm Christian and do believe that the world would be a better place if we all, everyone, truly followed the teachings - but I guess I think this is weak as a novel and misplaced in the Literature section. It's as if it's a little sneaky to disseminate one's religious beliefs by clothing them in a sort-of-story... a sheep in wolf's clothing? (BAD pun!)

Nonetheless the portrayal of the religious life of medieval times (sometime between the founding of Cambridge University and the Reformation) is interesting reading. The characters and struggles of the various members of the community of St. Alcuin's Abbey and the interloper are well enough developed. I really enjoyed the description of the "sneering" of the former Augustinian abbot. I felt that in the end the author wanted to lead the reader to the familiar concept of "What Would Jesus Do?" in choosing a solution to a dilemma.

But she writes in a wobbly voice - sometimes archaic then often jumping into 21st century vernacular. And I think a discerning reader can pick out the author's intent to tell others how to live, that the story she has created is a parable for the lesson she wants us to learn. Make no mistake, it is a worthy lesson, broad and non-denominational, but a lesson more than a novel.
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