The Cloister and the Hearth

The Cloister and the Hearth

3.8 7
by Charles Reade

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The Cloister and the Hearth

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CreateSpace Publishing
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6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.69(d)

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The Cloister and the Hearth (Barnes & Noble Digital Library) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Lady_White_Koi_Fish More than 1 year ago
Gerard Eliassoen seems destined for greatness. As good and kind as he is talented, Gerard aspires to study art and calligraphy in Italy and then become a priest. But when Margaret Brandt's auburn hair and violet eyes capture his attention, he finds himself falling in love with the most charming and virtuous girl in Holland. Because marriage would ruin Gerard's chances at becoming a priest, his father and self-seeking brothers oppose the couple's plans. But Gerard and Margaret soon discover an even greater foe-the village Burgomaster (mayor). Will courage and love carry them through the trails ahead? Or will their enemies succeed at creating an insurmoutable gulf between them? An excellent book about love and the strong greed for money. Set in the 1500's it has an almost Romeo and Juliet feel to it. But I've never been a fan of Romeo and Juliet. So when I had to do a book report at school I chose this book over one of Shakespear's most famous works.
HomeSchoolBookReview More than 1 year ago
It is the latter half of the fifteenth century, and twenty-two year old Gerard Eliassoen is the eldest of nine children of Elias, a cloth merchant, and his wife Catherine of Tergou, Holland.  His next two younger brothers, Richart and Jacob, have left for work in Amsterdam.  Another brother became a tailor, and his oldest sister a robe maker.  That left four others at home, the dwarf Giles, the crippled Kate, and the two youngest, Cornelis and Sybrant, both ne’er-do-wells.  Gerard has been taught by the monks, became a scribe and illuminator, and is destined for service in the Church.  However, on the way to a contest in Rotterdam, where some of his work has been entered, he meets Peter Brandt, a physician from the nearby village of Sevenbergen, and immediately falls in love with the doctor’s daughter Margaret.  They also run across Ghysbrecht van Swieten, Burgomaster of Tergou, who years before had secretly cheated Peter’s father out of a huge sum of money. Gerard decides that he will not become a priest, and he and Margaret privately elope.  Gerard’s father opposes their relationship, and Ghysbrecht is afraid that Gerard may find out how he had cheated the Brandts, so Gerard is arrested.  With the help of Margaret and an old friend of the Brandt’s named Martin, Gerard escapes and goes to Italy, hoping to gain information that will clear him.  Meanwhile, Cornelis and Sybrant are jealous of their brother and conspire with Ghysbrecht to steal a letter being sent by a messenger from Margaret to Gerard and substitute a message stating that she has died, so he goes ahead and becomes a monk.  Soon, Margaret gives birth to her and Gerard’s child, little Gerard.  How can all this mess be resolved?  Will Gerard and Margaret ever be able to get back together?  And what will happen to the child?   A fictional account of the birth of Desiderius Erasmus who is thought to have been born Gerard Gerardson, The Cloister and the Hearth is a typical Victorian novel with all kinds of story twists and subplots, having as its main theme the struggle between man’s obligations to family and to Church. From an educational standpoint, the book contains a meticulous recreation of fifteenth-century European life with mention of various historical persons, often describing the events, people, and practices in minute detail.  From an ethical standpoint, there are many references to drinking wine, but there also incidents which show the dangers of alcohol abuse.  Also, it shows how important religion was to the lives of people at that time.  At his lowest ebb, Gerard contemplates suicide but prays and turns away from his plan.  Of course, the religion portrayed is Roman Catholic, and many practices with which non-Catholics will disagree, such as praying to saints  and the demands of priestly celibacy, which even Reade admits is a “not quite reasonable” only a couple of pages from the end, are mentioned, but this is simply part of the historical background.   It is not an easy read, with dialogue is written in a deliberately archaic style intended to evoke the Middle Ages, but it well illustrates how proper attitudes “could raise two truelovers’ hearts to the loving heart of their Father in Heaven.”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read to the end thinking something exciting had to eventually happen...very disappointing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This excellent book is about two young Dutch lovers, Gerard Eliason and Margaret Brandt, forced to separate by an avaricious burgomaster. Gerard makes his way to Rome after many adventures and encounters and starts saving for his triumphal return to claim Margret. He receives a forged letter telling him that Margret is dead and in despair, becomes a friar. Margret is not only alive but has given birth to thier son. The plot's twists and turns as the lies are exposed and the lovers reunited are spellbinding. Fans of Ken Follett's writing will wonder if he ghost-wrote this novel till they remember that Reade wrote this novel approximately a century before Follett's birth. One giveaway is that Follett does not use humor and insight into human nature as well as Reade. As a Follett fan, I have to admit that this novel is better than anything Follett has done to date.
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