The poison bed by E.C. Fremantle

The beautiful and ambitious Frances Howard is locked in The Tower after having confessed the murder of Thomas Overbury, her husband’s best friend. That husband is Robert Carr, the personal favorite of king James I. Robert himself sits also behind bars in the Tower, suspected of the same murder. One of them is the murderer. The other will go free. Who speaks the truth?

I absolutely loved Elizabeth Fremantle’s Tudor novels. I read them all, except ‘Watch the lady’, as I’m saving this for a special moment :D. I love the fact that she always includes different perspectives, both from real historical figures and fictional characters. I must admit that I was disappointed when I heard her next book would a historical thriller in Jacobean times, published under a slightly different author’s name. I was afraid this story would be too different from her previous work. Luckily, I was wrong as ‘the poison bed’ is one of my favorite reads of 2020 so far!

The poison bed, being the first written as E.C. Fremantle, tells the story of the infamous murder of Thomas Overbury in The Tower Of London. It was at the time itself a real political scandal, and this unsolved murder still intrigues us centuries later.

The story opens with Frances imprisoned in The Tower with her baby daughter and Nelly, a wet nurse. Frances has just confessed and recounts her side of the story to Nelly. She starts with her first marriage to the earl of Essex and slowly we discover how she and Robert Carr fell in love. At the same time, we get to know Robert’s story. His friendship with Overbury, his relationship with king James and his first meeting with Frances.

Slowly events are unfolding and you get some clues why Overbury was murdered and who could be behind it. But at the same time Fremantle waves other historical topics into the narrative. The Jacobean court comes alive with tensions between the catholic and protestant fractions at court, the witch hunts, a king that has some personal secrets…

Halfway, the novel’s atmosphere changes and it all becomes darker. It is a historical thriller after all. The ending lingered on for a while in my mind. If only we could travel back in time to discover what really happened ;).

Fremantle’s writing style is gripping and the short chapters make it a real page turner. The chapters switch between Frances in third person tense and Robert in first person narrative. I found Frances’ perspective more interesting than Robert’s story. Robert was too soft and passive for my liking.

It’s such a shame that I haven’t yet read more books set during the Stuart reign. Fremantle proves not only The Tudors make for a good story.

The poison bed is a story about love, treason, lies and murder. For all those that love a good mystery novel or a compelling historical story. This book has both.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Do you like reading historical thrillers? Which one is your favorite?

Top ten Tuesday: covers with dresses

Today’s top ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl is a cover freebie. Historical fiction is a really recognizable genre in terms of their cover art. Especially when you look at novels about historical/royal figures. They look all the same. Showing a women in a fancy dress. Mostly the women is recognizable as she is looking straight at you. But this is not always the case.

Today I want to show you ten specific covers from my (to be) read list where a dress is the key element on the cover. So a cover with no head or clear face, but just a dress.

  1. Empress of the night by Eva Stachniak

2. The wardrobe mistress by Meghan Masterson

3. Four sisters, all queens by Sherry Jones

4. Milady by Laura L. Sullivan

4. The queen’s Mary by Sarah Gristwood

5. Queen Elizabeth’s daughter by Anne Clinard Barnhill

6. The Royal Physician’s Visit by Per Olov Enquist (Dutch cover)

7. The queen’s vow by C.W. Gortner

8. The queen’s fool by Philippa Gregory

9. The forgotten queen by D.L. Bogdan

10. Queen of silks by Vanora Bennett

Which one is your favorite?

How to stop time by Matt Haig

Tom Hazard starts a new career as a history teacher in London. He teaches about Shakespeare as if he has known the man himself. And he did know Shakespeare. Tom was born in the 16th century and suffers from a strange disease that makes him age slowly. One day, he discovers that he isn’t the only one with this condition. Tom becomes part of a secret society where they call themselves Alba’s. The society arranges a new life for you every 8 years and in return you help them find and recruit more Alba’s. To live long may seem a wonderful dream but it can be hurtful too, especially when love is involved.

This was my first book of Matt Haig and I deliberately picked this one as the focus is less on sci-fi and it has some historical elements. The book contains short chapters switching between Tom’s past lives and his current one as a teacher in London. We travel to Elizabethan London, James Cook’s discovery of Australia, New York, Paris… Sometimes it’s a bit confusing in which life we are.

We learn about Tom’s first love Rose and how his disease forced him to part from her. Tom’s undying love (you can take that literally if you want) for Rose is a central topic during the whole story. It becomes an obsession and for me it was a bit too much.

We also get an insight in the secret Alba society. How they found Tom, what the rules are and how they try to hide from the rest of the world. For me, the whole society thing wasn’t the most interesting part of the novel. Tom doesn’t ask questions and just goes along with whatever they tell him. I didn’t find it very convincing.

What I did like were Tom’s ‘accidentally’ encounters with famous figures such as Shakespeare and F. Scott Fitzgerald. You’re a history nerd, or not :D. I also liked Haig’s writing style, which becomes very philosophical at times. The concept of ‘time’ is a key element throughout the story.

So yes, I truly understand why people love this book. It’s well-written with some unique storylines, but for me there were too many loose ends to be blown away.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The silken rose by Carol McGrath

At thirteen, Ailenor Of Provence travels to England to wed king Henry III, who’s a lot older than herself. Against all odds, the couple does find happiness and affection together. But as a foreign queen, Ailenor is not liked at court and is seen as a ‘she wolf’ when her Savoyard relatives get high positions at court and in the clergy. Luckily, she finds friendship with two remarkable women. Rosalind, a young embroideress and Nell, the king’s sister. Nell’s love interest is none other than Simon De Monfort, but she’s not free to wed since she has taken a vow of chastity after her late husband’s death. Ailenor sees her chance to act as a modern Guinevere and decides to aid the lovebirds.

The silken rose is the first part in a trilogy about three of England’s medieval queens who were seen as she wolves in their time. McGrath wants to give them a more human voice. This books tells the story of Eleanor Of Provence, Henry III’s queen, but McGrath uses the spelling ‘Ailenor’ to distinguish her from all the English Eleanor’s (it was quite a popular name back then).

I liked to read about Henry III’s reign, as he’s a forgotten king stuck between his father ‘bad’ king John and his son Edward Longshanks, who have both gotten more attention in popular culture. But Henry’s reign was a long one and during all that time Eleanor sat faithful at his side on the throne, so the two of them certainly deserve more attention. I did know something about Eleanor. In particular that she has three sisters who would also make important marriages. Her eldest sister Marguerite becomes queen of France, thus bringing the sisters to opposite sides of the European power struggle.

The book opens with Ailenor traveling to England during a cold and wet winter. She likes her husband immediately but he finds her yet too young to consummate the marriage. Ailenor quickly makes friendship with the king’s sister Nell, who is widowed and has taken a vow to never marry again. Determined to be a good queen and smitten with tales of king Arthur and Guinevere, Ailenor develops a love for poetry and embroidery. She offers Rosalind, a very talented embroideress, her own workshop at Winchester. At the same time she petitions the king to help Nell, who has fallen in love with Simon De Montfort but needs the Pope’s blessing to wed again.

We discover court life through the eyes of this three different women. Rosalind is the only one not based on a historical character and although she has quite an interesting story herself, I liked the focus on Ailenor and Nell more.

Henry’s relationship with Nell’s husband Simon De Monfort is a complex one. Especially when events in Gascony are escalating. Eventually it will lead to rebellion, but those events are not included in this book. That may look as a strange choice, but I do understand that McGrath wants to focus on Ailenor’s story and not on the quarrel between two men.

There are many more things going on in this novel, such as the third crusade, the struggle between Ailenor’s Savoyards and the English nobles, witchcraft, Henry’s second family the De Lusignans causing unrest… You get a full insight into the politics and royal intrigues of the 13th century.

I really liked how the relationship between Ailenor and Henry was portrayed. They have a strong affection for each other, but Henry is a volatile king and the couple knows many ups and downs. Ailenor dares to stand up to Henry, which is not always appreciated.

I’m looking forward to read more about Eleanor Of Provence, and to continue with McGrath’s Rose trilogy as I know almost nothing about Eleanor Of Castile, the main subject of the next book in the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

New in #1

I’m still figuring out what kind of other content and formats I want to bring here, apart from reviews of course :D. But one of the things I like to read on other book blogs is new books they have bought or picked up at the library, so that you know what kind of reviews you can expect the coming weeks. And it’s always fun to have a look at someone’s shelves, isn’t it?

Here’s my first ‘new in’ post. The plan is to discuss new books I borrowed from the library, bought on kindle or as a physical copy, or ARC’s via Netgalley.

From the libary

I’m an avid fan of the library in the city where I work, but due to COVID-19 I couldn’t visit the library since July. Such a shame! My boyfriend and I finally went during our holidays and we both picked up some interesting books. For a Dutch library, they offer a lot of English fiction and as I didn’t prepare my visit I just strolled through the English shelves. These are the ones I took home with me:

The passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland: this is a book that wasn’t on my TBR, but I recognized the title immediately as Goodreads has been recommending this book to me for ages. It’s about the Italian paintress Artemisia (DUH) and that’s all I know about it for now.

The ashes of London by Andrew Taylor: a historical mystery set during the Great Fire of London. I’m exciting to start reading this one, as it has been a while since I read a mystery novel. It’s the first part in a series, so if this is good, I have some more books to discover.

The last hours by Minette Walters: a historical novel about The Black Death seemed somehow appropriate at the moment. Minette Walters is an author unknown to me so I’m not quite sure if I will like it. Let’s see!

New e-books:

For my 27th birthday my boyfriend bought me an Amazon gift voucher (he’s great, I know :)), so now I only need to decide which books to buy. My wishlist is still growing so that shouldn’t be a problem. I already picked up one book (I’ve been strong).

Milady by Laura L. Sullivan: This is retelling of ‘The three musketeers’ from Milady de Winter’s perspective. Milady is my favorite female character ever, so I really hope this will make for a great story. I don’t know the author by the way.

Netgalley

I’m totally new to this platform and I’m just looking around to see if it’s something for me or not. I picked up and reviewed the lost queen already. As a new reviewer, my options are limited to ‘read now’ books – as my feedback ratio is not yet above 80% I guess.

Before the crown by Flora Harding: I’m currently reading this book about Elizabeth II and the start of her relationship with Prince Philip. It’s the first time I read about the Windsors. Moreover, I still need to start watching the Netflix series ‘the crown’ (shame on me).

Have you read any of these? Which books are new on your shelves?

The Boleyn bride by Emily Purdy

At sixteen Elizabeth Howard hopes to become lady-in-waiting to the new Spanish queen, Catherine Of Aragon. But her ambitious father marries her to Thomas Boleyn, a low-born but rising star at court. Elizabeth loathes him but has no choice than to obey her family. The Howards are after all one of the most powerful noble families. The match will produce three children: beautiful Mary, beloved George and ugly duck Anne. All three of them will play a vital part in Engeland’s future, and Elizabeth herself will also catch king Henry’s eye.

I’ve set myself a goal to still write reviews of all the books I’ve read in the first half of 2020 (thus before I started this blog), with the exception of some last parts in a series. The Boleyn Bride was one of the oldest unread books sitting on my shelves. I bought it maybe 10 years ago at a book fair for 2 euros. There’s another edition of this book where the author’s name is Brandy Purdy instead of Emily by the way – it confused me also.

I had no high expectations of this book, knowing it would be another story about the dramatic rise and downfall of the Boleyn family. But I had hoped that the perspective of their mother Elizabeth Howard would provide an original point of view. Historians are still in doubt whether Elizabeth encouraged her daughters to enter the king’s bed or whether she was against it.

This is hard review to write because actually there is little I liked about ‘the Boleyn bride‘. The biggest problem is the characterization of Elizabeth herself. She’s a total bitch. Vain, selfish, ambitious and annoying. She has no love for her family or husband, not even for her children. Her constant hate of Thomas, whom she refers to as ‘Bullen, oh no Boleyn’ bored me to pieces.

The book covers her story all the way from her marriage to Thomas until Anne’s downfall, but the most important events are told in a few pages, a few lines even. The author finds it more interesting to talk about her love affair with Remi, a fictional character, or how Elizabeth tries to hide her wrinkles. Elizabeth complains about almost everything, except herself. She’s a very passive character and has no influence on what happens to first Mary, than Anne. As their mother she’s more a silent observer who just tells the reader what happens to her children. I found that most unconvincing.

I can see past a horrible main character, but the other characters are even worse. Thomas Boleyn is a devil, Anne ugly from the day she’s born, Mary is beautiful but stupid… There was nobody I cared for in this book. Only Catherine Of Aragon seems a good person, which is a bit strange as she and Elizabeth will not have been best friends if you know what happens…

Purdy also makes some serious historical errors or bad choices, especially with the timeline (Anne’s romance with Henry Percy for example is set wrong) or the whole thing about Anne having six fingers (for which there is no evidence whatsoever). I can understand why authors of historical fiction sometimes make changes to the timeline or choose to go with a certain story or legend, but in this novel it serves no purpose at all except making it more unbelievable.

I’m quite picky when it comes to Tudor fiction, since I’ve read a lot of novels about this period already and I am familiar with the historical facts. Especially with the Boleyns, I find it important to do them justice and I cringe with how some authors chose to represent them. So maybe you will enjoy a lighter story such as these and this book might work for you. But I won’t take up a next book from Emily/Brandy Purdy.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Which book disappointed you most in 2020 so far?

The lost queen by Signe Pike

The twins Langueroth and Lailoken are raised by their father, king Morken, and mother, a wisdom keeper, in the Old Ways. Lailoken has a calling to become wisdom keeper himself, something Langueroth can only be jealous of. She’s destined to marry to advance her family. But in 6th century Scotland the new Catholic faith will bring chaos and bloodshed, while at the same time men in the North gather under the banner of Emrys Pendragon to defend the country against the Anglo-saxons. Langueroth falls for one of Pendragon’s men but she’ll have to marry the son of the Catholic high king. Can she and her brother Lailoken defend and preserve the old Celtic faith?

The cover says ‘Outlander meets Camelot’, and it’s indeed a historical story with fantasy elements based on the Merlin myth. Pike discovered that a man named Lailoken could have been the inspiration for the character of Merlin. And that this Lailoken had a twin sister Langueroth who was queen of Strathclyde, an ancient Scottish kingdom.

But this is more than a retelling of Merlin. It’s the story about a girl who’d become queen in a troubled kingdom. About a clash between the Old Ways and the new Catholic faith led by the monk Mungo. About new heroes in the North bearing the name of Pendragon. About the love between siblings.

There are so many storylines that’s is difficult to write a summary :). ‘The lost queen‘ is the first part of a trilogy so there’s much more to come. And sometimes it was a bit frustrating that some storylines disappeared a bit towards the end. Probably to come back in the next book. For example the conflict with Mungo is definitely not over yet.

There’s also a heavy focus on Langueroth’s romance with one of Pendragon’s men. That was not my favorite part of the story. I did like Langueroth’s relationship with her brothers Lailoken and Gwendolau, as with her new husband and family. I also was very intrigued by the old Celtic traditions and the wisdom keepers, who were some kind of druids. They had even more power than kings and the mystery surrounding their prophecies gave the story a darker touch.

It may not be the new ‘Outlander’ or ‘Mists of Avalon’. But Pike certainly gives Merlin and Langueroth a new and original voice. I might pick up the next book in the series ‘the forgotten kingdom’ soon.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher to provide me a copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Have you ever read a book about the celtic tradition? I’d love to discover more stories about the Celts.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Should be Adapted into a Netflix series

This is my first top ten Tuesday and I’m so excited! I’m new to all the challenges in the book blog community. But I was already familiar with this one and I decided to join. TTT is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and every Tuesday there’s a new topic to list ten books.

Today’s topic: Books that Should be Adapted into Netflix Shows/Movies.

My relationship with book adaptations is quite complex. I don’t like movies based on a book, because a movie is so limited in time and needs to leave out so many details from the book. The book is always better than the movie.

But with a series, it is sometimes different. I also discovered some of my favorite book series via an adaptation (such as Outlander, The last kingdom and Poldark). So I’m focusing here on which books I would like to see as a (Netflix) series.

1. The Winternight trilogy by Katherine Arden

I finished the last book ‘the winter of the witch‘ a few months ago and my review on Goodreads said that this should be a Netflix series. It’s just a wonderful coming-of-age story in an original setting (medieval Russia). With both historical and fantasy elements. I think it would appeal to a broad audience.

2. Elizabeth Chadwick’s trilogy about Eleanor Of Aquitaine

If there’s one medieval queen whose story is interesting enough to deserve her own series, it’s definitely Eleanor Of Aquitaine. The books of Elizabeth Chadwick, starting with The summer queen, will provide a lot of material to start from.

3. All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr

And I have some good news for you! Netflix is at the moment working on a mini series based on this book. The book will always be better. But this original story about two innocent children finding their way in times of war will make a good series.

4. The poison bed by E.C. Fremantle

Move over Gone girl, this historical thriller will surprise you even more. I really need to write a review about this book, as I loved it.

5. How to stop time by Matt Haig

I didn’t love this book, partly because of the romance that dominated the story, but also because the whole secret organisation thing just couldn’t catch my attention. With all the flashbacks and flashforwards, I believe this story would work better on TV.

6. The song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Thanks to this book, we could have a sexy LGTB+ series in ancient Greece. A doomed war, heroes and villains, romance, and a mythological setting. The story has it all and it could bring the Iliad alive to a whole new generation.

7. Dissolution (and the following books) by S.J. Sansom

Move over Comoran Strike or Sherlock Holmes, the new star detective is called Matthew Shardlake. I would love to see this series come alive on the big screen.

8. The watchmaker of Filligree street by Natasha Pulley

I love a peculiar story once in a while. And especially on TV. The watchmaker of Filligree street would bring us to Victorian London and Japan. I just discovered there’s a prequel that I didn’t read yet.

9. The convert by Stefan Hertmans

A Belgian book about a young girl in the 11th century who converts herself to the Jewish faith. It’s a dramatic story that is still really relevant today in the light of the refugees crisis in Europe.

10. A gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

I didn’t love the book and I believe it would work better on TV. By bringing the hotel to life and including more material and backstory about Russian history.

So this is my list 🙂 Which series would you like to see?

Shadow on the crown by Patricia Bracewell

As sister to the Norman duke Richard, Emma gets betrothed to the English king Aethelred II. Aethelred has just lost his wife in childbed who gave him already three daughters and six sons. His marriage to Emma is a pure political one as her brother promises to help defend England against the Danes. But the allegiance comes with a prize: Emma gets a crown and the title Queen of England.

Soon Emma discovers she has few friends at court and her husband bears her no love. Aethelred is plagued by a childhood drama and mistrusts everyone, including his beautiful but Norman queen. It is clear Emma must look elsewhere for love, but at first she gets none from the king’s eldest three sons. As queen she, and any male issue she begets, becomes a rival for the throne should Aethelred die. Elgiva, the daughter of a northern lord, had herself the ambition to be queen and blames Emma for her destroyed hopes. Yet another face she cannot trust.

This book was my first ebook on Kindle ever. I don’t know exactly why I chose this particular one, I just wanted to read something about Saxon England. Emma of Normandy is a queen I didn’t know anything about, but her name is often mentioned in historical podcasts. So I thought I might give this book, which is the first part in a trilogy about her life, a try. And I’m so glad I did, because I love this book.

The novel is written in the third person narrative from four different perspectives: Emma (the main character), Aethelred, Aethelstan (the heir to the throne) and Elgiva. This was definitely a surprise, as I thought the story would mainly be about Emma. I always like to read from different perspectives and the fact that you also get an insight in the troubled king’s mind really contributed to the story. Aethelred was not my favorite character, but reading from his point of view made hem feel more human, although I didn’t agree with his choices.

I did like the perspectives of Aethelstan and Emma the most. I could feel Emma’s insecurities and fears of a king rejecting her love and even her existence at some times. She was quite alone, except for her Norman ladies, at a strange court. Stepmother to sons who are her age and who don’t want to see her pregnant because that child will become a competitor for the throne itself. And then you have Elgiva, a vain noble girl who loathes Emma and is used by her family to grab power. I hope that her story becomes more balanced in the coming novels.

The battle with the Danes and the massacre at St. Brice’s Day are key events in the story. The Danish treat comes from Swein Forkbeard and his son Cnut. I feel we will see more of them in the next books. I found them very interesting side characters.

Bracewell crafts a believable story, but it’s important to note that there aren’t many facts from Emma’s early years as queen to start from. Some chapters of the books start with an ancient text from the Anglo-saxon chronicle, which was always a nice introduction. But sources from that era are scarce.

The author takes some liberties and also adds a romance, but it didn’t bother me at all. Bracewell even includes quite ‘modern’ themes such as panic attacks and claustrophobia. I liked her writing style, I loved the different characters (apart from Elgiva) and I look forward to reading the next part. I want to discover more of Emma’s life.

As this is Bracewell’s debut novel, I’m even more impressed. Highly recommended!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Historical novels set in a monastery

Today I want to talk about one of my favorite settings of a historical novel: a monastery. I’m no religious person whatsoever, but I find it really interesting to read about life in religious houses. I don’t know exactly what attracts me to this setting. I believe the fact that inhabitants are isolated from the rest of the world and limited to a certain amount of space contributes to the story, especially when a mystery is involved. The killer needs to be someone from inside—making it all the more exciting. Do you get me?

Also the role that monasteries played during the reformation and especially the dissolution by the likes of Thomas Cromwell is a topic that I have read about a few times. It gives a nice insight in why people would want to live a solitary and contemplated life. Religion was (and still is for some people) an important aspect of everyday life. Most people took their vows willingly, or went to a convent or abbey to repent for their sins, or to seek sanctuary.

Here’s my list of books that I’ve read where a monastery or religious life is involved and plays a key part in the novel.

The name of the rose by Umberto Eco

Probably the most famous novel of the list. It tells the story of Brother William of Baskerville who, together with the novice Adso, arrives at an Italian monastery for a religious debate. But a monk was murdered and William and Adso are charged to find the murderer before the delegates of the pope arrive.

I do want to include this book, but I need to say that I didn’t like reading it at all. I didn’t understand the whole religious conflict thing. The murder mystery was what kept me reading, but I was as lost in the story as William and Adso were in the monastery’s mysterious library.

I gave the story a second chance by watching the excellent Italian mini series (also named The name of the rose). I did enjoy it a lot but I didn’t recognize anything from the book :D. So, I do recommend to give this book a try, as so many love it. But I won’t reread it.

Dissolution (Matthew Shardlake #1) by S.J. Sansom

We move on to what might be my favorite story of this list. One of Thomas Cromwell’s men is murdered at the monastery of Scarnsea. Lawyer Matthew Shardlake is sent to catch the murderer.

This is the start of a historical mystery series about Shardlake during the Tudor era. I’m quite new to this genre of historical novels, but I love this series and I love Matthew. The murder mystery is quite good, although I found out halfway who the killer was, there were still a lot of elements that surprised me.

The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau

Joanna Stafford is a novice in the monastery of Dartford. During the dissolution of the monasteries, she get’s involved in the quest for an ancient relic on behalf of bishop Stephen Gardiner.

What I liked about this book is the fact that you get an insight in how a monastery reacted to the dissolution by Cromwell. You feel their fears and doubts. What I didn’t like was the search for the relic, this gave the story some kind of Dan Brown vibe (and coming from me, I don’t mean that as a compliment). Also the flashback to Joanna’s previous court life didn’t contribute to the story, I would have liked to just stay between the walls of the monastery. I still don’t know if I want to read the second book in the series. Is it getting better?

Sacred hearts by Sarah Dunant

This story is set in 15th century Italy in the convent of Santa Catherina. In that time a lot of noble girls where forced to enter a convent for the sake of their family. And not all of them go willingly. We meet young novice Serafina who is such a girl. With the help of Suora Zuana, the convent’s apothecary, she starts to feel at home a bit.

This is a different story, no murder mystery, but a novel about love and friendship during challenging times. Every nun has its own story and burdens to bare. I enjoyed this book a lot and I definitely want to reread it.

The pillars of the earth by Ken Folett

Everyone will know this book and yes, it’s not only set within a monastery. It’s an epic medieval tale set during the Anarchy in England. But thanks to prior Philip, you get an insight in the workings of an abbey and how a new prior could get selected and the power that it gave him.

Also the building and funding of the new church is an important topic and convinced me to add this must-read novel on this list.

Have you read any of these? Do you know of any other good story about a monastery, convent or abbey? I’m happy to add it to my list!