Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I was received a copy of SAINT FRANCES by Robert West from Thomas Nelson. This book is part of a series called Christian Encounters. I was thrilled for this edition, for I had heard of Saint Francis, but not known much. He is truly a fascinating character. The book follows eighteen chapters, an epilogue, conclusion, notes, bibliography, and a section about the author. While reading, I was especially pleased with references to an actual autobiography by Saint Francis. It made the story more real. Despite being a biography, at times the book read more like a novel. The opening chapter begins with a vivid description of a city street. There are also very interesting facts, such as that Saint Francis was originally named John. When his father returned home and discovered that name, he insisted it be changed to Francis. Francis was not a common name. It meant “the French one” and was in honor of Saint Francis’s mother, and his father’s livelihood. Something I found interesting was that many people in his home lived in elaborate towers. I think it would be exciting to live in one now. My only real criticism of the book was that dates were not included enough. I had trouble placing different events on a timeline in my head to keep everything straight. In the first chapter, dates seemed slow in arriving, so I was confused how to picture things. For the story being historical, there were a lot of facts included, such as weather, that helped to paint powerful scenes in the life of an inspirational saint.