Crusade by Linda Press Wulf (January 2011, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, ISBN: 1408804840)
Notes: The following review is written by Amanda Gillies who reviews crime fiction on my Euro Crime website. You can read her crime reviews here and her YA reviews here.
Review: Set in the summer of 1212, and based on the Children's Crusade that took place that year, this is an enchanting tale of love, devotion and unquestioning faith. It is exquisitely written and brims over with the emotions of the two young people at its centre - starting with their joyful innocence that is slowly eroded but replaced with burning passion and belief based on bitter experience.
In brief, Georgette is mesmerized by the handsome young shepherd boy who comes riding triumphantly into her village. He is holding a golden crucifix and looking for youngsters to volunteer for his crusade. His cloak and golden curls only add to his air of mystery and godliness and many children do set out after him - Georgette included. They make their way southwards and, buoyed up by a blessing from the King himself, despite a stark lack of food, eventually reach a large abbey where young foundling Robert is being raised by the abbot. Robert also joins the crusade, moved by his steadfast faith and utter belief that this is what he is meant to do.
Both Georgette and Robert witness many events on their long journey that are a real test of everything they hold dear. They discover that many things, and people, are not always as they seem, and face death on more than once occasion. Their momentous journey is life-changing right from the start, but even more so once the two young people meet and discover they share the same hopes and dreams.
This is Linda Press Wulf's second book. The appeal of its beautiful style and timeless message means it should speak volumes to everyone who reads it. Very highly recommended.