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The Monk's Son    by W. R. Wilkerson III order for
Monk's Son
by W. R. Wilkerson III
Order:  USA  Can
Ciro Books, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Jessica Weaver

The acknowledgements at the end of The Monk's Son speak for the volume: Wilkerson, primarily a historian with a few nonfiction titles under his belt, spent over twenty years on this particular book. With beautifully crafted language, poignant characters and themes, and an interesting setting, The Monk's Son is a must-read.

Steven St. Francis is found as an infant on the grounds of a monastery in England. The time is the early twentieth century; Brother Dominic is a relatively new monk, after losing his wife and newborn child. Dominic is the monastery physician and nurses the infant to heath and into childhood. Despite initial protests, Steven becomes the monks' treasure and Dominic's true son.

After the air raids come to England, the monks open a school for orphaned boys at the monastery. Steven's roommate is rambunctious Michael, an artist with a brilliant mind but little interest in anything other than alcohol and his sexuality. The rest of the novel follows the two boys as they travel separately to manhood. Michael attends art school in London; Steven takes his vows and his father's position at the monastery.

When untimely events bring Michael and Steven back together, the old, solid friendship of the two must bridge the gap that has divided them. Michael's pain meets Steven's peace in a bond that crosses barriers.

The beauties of the scenes in this novel are still resonating with me as I write this. Wilkerson deals with some touchy subjects, never glossing over anything and yet not being offensive in the least. The Monk's Son is not only a wonderful story but could be a guiding example for writers on how to craft a vivid tale.

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