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Cloister and the Hearth

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By: (1814-1884)

Cloister and the Hearth by Charles Reade is a captivating historical novel that transports readers to 15th century Europe. The story follows the journey of Gerard Eliassoen, a young man who chooses to leave the life of a monk to pursue his true love, Margaret Brandt.

Reade expertly weaves together elements of romance, adventure, and drama to create a rich and immersive narrative. The characters are vibrant and well-developed, making it easy for readers to become emotionally invested in their fates. Gerard's quest to be reunited with Margaret is both heartwarming and heart-wrenching, keeping readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.

The historical detail in the novel is impeccable, painting a vivid picture of life in the Middle Ages. From the bustling streets of cities to the quiet tranquility of monasteries, Reade's descriptive prose brings the setting to life in vivid detail.

Overall, Cloister and the Hearth is a beautifully written and engaging novel that will appeal to fans of historical fiction. Reade's skillful storytelling and richly drawn characters make this a must-read for anyone looking for a captivating tale of love and adventure in a bygone era.

Book Description:
'The Cloister and the Hearth', by Charles Reade, was published in 1861. It's a long and winding picaresque novel set in 15th century Europe, telling the story of the love between Gerard Eliason, an artist turned priest, and Margaret Brandt, the daughter of a poor scholar, and reflects the conflict between family and church which overshadowed the lives of so many in medieval times. Its uniqueness lies in the way Reade, having meticulously researched his subject and the period, gives us insights more detailed than any other writer of fiction into medieval lifestyles and morals, combined with vivid descriptions of his characters – many based on real historical figures – and locations. He deliberately strays towards a medieval writing style, with many an archaic word to tantalise the reader or listener . Until well into the twentieth century, ‘The Cloister and the Hearth’ was considered one of the greatest novels in the English language. Its popularity may have faded, but those who have read it will tell you of the enduring power of Reade’s tour de force. A revival is long overdue, and is deserved: it’s an exceptional book. - Summary by Tom Denholm


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