From Publishers Weekly
Murray (The Beliefnet Guide to Evangelical Christianity
) lowered herself into ancient ruins, chatted with nuns behind iron grilles and pored over documents in four languages to research and write this story of Francis of Assisi, the medieval saint whose appeal is timeless. In a work that is both scholarly and engaging, Murray retells the life of this complicated man—who was poet, warrior, knight, lover, madman and saint—in a way that even those familiar with Francis's story will find compelling. Of special interest is the way she handles the relationship between Francis and Clare of Assisi. Acknowledging what scholars and historians have tended to dismiss as sentimental, modern and implausible, Murray holds that the pair's attachment was rooted in love, but that it evolved into a mutual renunciation and remained pure as they took religious vows. She also shows that the age difference between Francis and Clare may not have been great enough to support the official Catholic position that their bond was merely that of father and daughter. (July)
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"Wendy Murray has given us a book that can awaken depths of the spirit in both believers and nonbelievers.... Artfully and sensitively written, [the final chapter] alone is worth the price of the book."