Ramsay Scallop

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The year is 1299. Fourteen year-old Elenor reluctanly awaits the return of her betrothed -- a man she hardly knows -- from the Crusade. Thomas, broken and disillusioned from years of fighting, finds the very idea of marriage and lordship overwhelming. So When the village priest sends them on religious pilgrimage before the marriage, both are relieved. The journey means a postponement of the dreaded nuptials, and a last chance for adventure. As Eleanor and thomas wend their way toward the shrine of St. James, they...
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The year is 1299. Fourteen year-old Elenor reluctanly awaits the return of her betrothed -- a man she hardly knows -- from the Crusade. Thomas, broken and disillusioned from years of fighting, finds the very idea of marriage and lordship overwhelming. So When the village priest sends them on religious pilgrimage before the marriage, both are relieved. The journey means a postponement of the dreaded nuptials, and a last chance for adventure. As Eleanor and thomas wend their way toward the shrine of St. James, they meet mant other pilgrims -- each with their own extraordinary tales to tell and ideas to share. There is Etienne, a passionate student of philosophy; Brother Ambrose, gentle teacher of Sschoolboys; practical Marthe, eager for a decent life for her children. And graually Eleanor and Thomas come to realize the glorious possibilities of the world around them... within each other.

At the turn of the fourteenth century in England, fourteen-year-old Elenor finds her betrothal to an ambitious lord's son launching her on a memorable pilgrimage to far-off Spain.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a striking departure from her first two novels Taste of Salt ; Grab Hands and Run , which center on current political and social injustices, Temple travels back to 13th-century Europe for a coming-of-age story about a 14-year-old orphan. Eleanor of Ramsay is betrothed to the rakish Thomas, who has just returned from fighting in the Crusades for eight years. Frightened by the prospect of an arranged marriage to a man she hardly knows, Eleanor worries even more when the town priest sends her and Thomas on a pilgrimage to Spain to atone for the sins of all the townspeople. Along the way Thomas and Eleanor meet up with scholars, peasants and performers, each of whom plays a role in helping the young protagonists to discover their true feelings for each other. Temple's pleasing portrayal of the saintly but plucky heroine guides readers through a rather long-winded journey. While Eleanor's spiritual and emotional awakenings are believable and sensitively wrought, her internal conflicts fail to buoy the tale with any significant doses of humor, pathos or drama. However, readers newly introduced to Chaucer's famous Canterbury pilgrims may find Temple's contemporary style an easier introduction to medieval settings and customs. Ages 11-14. Apr.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-In 1300, 14-year-old Elenor of Ramsay's fianc, Thomas of Thornham, returns from the Crusades. The couple, uncertain of their roles in life and their feelings about each other, are reluctant to wed. Wise Father Gregory sends them on a pilgrimage to Spain; this not only buys them time but forces them to become better acquainted. Their journey is full of unexpected adventures, joys, and hardships. They see new sights, make new friends, and learn new things. By book's end, both are at peace with themselves and gracefully accept their lot. Temple writes fluently of the medieval era, smoothly weaving data on everyday life, religious attitudes, folklore, music, architecture, and crafts into her story. All this detail is fascinating, but it is definitely overdone. The 300+ page text needs a judicious pruning, particularly those scenes included primarily for informational or philosophical purposes such as the mechanics of glassblowing and Moslem beliefs. Unfortunately, Temple's facts aren't always accurate; for starters, she alters the construction dates of Amiens' cathedral, errs in describing Albigensian tenets, and repeatedly refers to vernacular scriptures although at this time the Bible was available only in Latin. Her characters, though intriguing, are, for the Middle Ages, incredibly literate and modern thinking. The Ramsay Scallop also suffers from lack of glossary not all terms are adequately defined in context and a map tracing the pilgrimage essential in a book of this type. A valiant effort that doesn't quite make it.-Ann W. Moore, Schenectady County Public Library, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064406017
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/1995
  • Series: A Trophy Bk.
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 890L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Frances Temple grew up in Virginia, France, and Vietnam. About her third book she wrote, "The Ramsay Scallop is about our need for adventure and motion, for throwing in with strangers, trusting and listening. The story began to take form in northern Spain along pilgrim trails; was fed by histories, stories, letters, by the testimony of a fourteenthcentury shepherd, by the thoughts of today's pilgrims. Concerns echo across years-clean water, good talk, risks welcomed, the search for a peaceful heart. Traveling in Elenor's shoes, I found out how strongly the tradition of pilgrimage continues."Ms. Temple received many honors during her distinguished career. Her other critically acclaimed books for young people include: FranceTaste of Salt A Story of Modern Haiti, winner of the 1993 Jane Addams Children's Book Award; Grab hands and Run, cited by SchoolLibrary journal as one of the Best Books of 1993; and Tonight, by Sea another novel set in Haiti.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Elenor clutched her too-long cloak around her, wrapping her fingers in its edges to keep them warm, and stood on tiptoe in her borrowed shoes. The sound that filled her ears was so piercing and sustained it seemed to be coming from inside her head. She wanted to make sure it wasn't.

Between the shoulders of the crowd, Elenor caught a glimpse of a beggar-musician, a mangy cat perched near his head. Crouching, she wriggled her way past bellies and elbows. The sound grew louder. Yes, it was the man's hurdy-gurdy, badly rosined, and its screech was devilish. The man's eyes glittered, hypnotic as a snake's, as he cranked.

"It's a sin," Elenor heard one matron whisper to another.

"Not natural," the other muttered, shaking her head, transfixed.

The man's dog crouched on a stool in front of him. His cat sprang onto the dog's back and turned in slow reluctant circles, its whiskers quivering. Its fur stuck out, tense and uneven. As the punishing sound of the hurdy-gurdy rose higher, a mouse scampered from the beggar's hand and skittered up the leg of the dog and onto the cat's back, where it cowered, trembling.

Do something, Elenor told herself.

A sudden commotion broke out at the cheese stall nearby. The beggar stopped his playing for a second, craning his neck with the curious crowd. Elenor stuck out a toe and jostled the stool. She jumped back, delighted, as cat, mouse, and dog sprang in opposite directions and disappeared among people's legs. She backed quickly into the thick of the crowd, stamping her feet to warm them.

Four times now, Carla had let Elenor make the long walk into Peterborough market with FatherGregory. This time was best of all: Michaelmas, last festival of the year before Advent, in the last year of the century, 1299. Excitement and fear were in the wind.

"We're all trying to be good this year," Father Gregory had told her, "to impress God."

"In case it's the end of the world?" she had asked, expecting reassurance.

"That's right."She wished he had added "but don't worry." He hadn't.

She tried to imagine the end of the world. Even the end of Peterborough market. What would happen to all these boisterous, jostling people? The big stone Peterborough Cathedral, newly built? The pink-cheeked child just now dragging his mother toward the food stalls? The barrows of carrots and onions and turnips, the pig snouts and limp bunches of chickens, the cooks imagining winter stews, the farmers hoping to trade for wooly socks? The beggars, musicians, tumblers ... could they just disappear?

At the end of the world came Judgment Day. How could people be judged, when each was as full of surprises as a king cake? She, Elenor, was not yet fourteen, still freckled and wild haired, just starting out; she had no idea what might be in her of good or evil.... She tucked the fear of judgment a little deeper. Peterborough market was a rare treat, a rare adventure. Tomorrow she would worry about the end of the world.

A rickety wooden stage stood lashed to the portico of the cathedral.

"Which guild is giving us the play?" Elenor asked a farmwife selling chickens nearby.

"Weavers," the woman answered. "They'll make us forget the cold." She grinned at the girl, showing

long, yellow teeth. Then she narrowed her eyes, pointing at her with her nose.

"Ain't you the little lady from out at Ramsay castle, the one that's to marry Lord Thomas, him that's away so long in the Holy Land? "

Elenor managed a nod, but she pulled her cloak tight around her again and turned away to cut the conversation short. Let the woman mind her own chickens.

Elenor caught a whiff of roasting chestnuts. A sooty girl was stoking coals under a pan. Closing her eyes, Elenor could feel the heat of the coals on her cheeks, her eyelids glowing. She untied a halfpenny from the corner of her shawl and pressed the coin into the girl's hand, reaching past the smaller children who hovered near the heat. The vendor scooped hot chestnuts into Elenor's shawl, and she hugged them against herself so that the warmth shot through her vest. She scanned the bleachers, saw Father Gregory, and careful not to lose her shoes, climbed toward him.

The old priest, sitting on the top board, lifted his head. He held open the side of his cape for her, and she crept in.

They peeled the chestnuts, munching the sweet white meat, scattering the hot shells. The sun shone bravely but the wind blew cold. The makeshift curtains on the stage billowed and flapped, and

Elenor glimpsed frantic preparations backstage. Farmwives in homespun and blue caught at their market-day coifs, yanking them back into place and tucking in wisps of hair.

Three loud thuds and the play began. Two child jesters in tights and tunics pulled back the curtains, shimmied up the side supports to tie them, slid down, ran to center stage where they bowed in every direction, and in high, shrill voices proclaimed:

"Welcome, welcome One and all To the story of Adam And his fall."

Then the jesters stared at each other, bowed deeply, and hurried offstage.

Elenor leaned her elbows on her knees and her chin in her hands.

The stage was decorated with plants and branches to represent the Garden of Eden. Beneath it, red devils draped against the stage supports writhed and groaned, chanting monotonously:

"Eternal remorse, eternal remorseThe song of the damned is eternal remorse...

High above, perched on the edge of the bell tower, an angel tried to look serene while pieces of

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2006

    A great book to read

    The Ramsey Scallop is the story of a girl whose name is Elenor, and she is told to get married to Thomas, but she doesn¿t want to. Father Gregory tries to help as many people as he can, but ends up hurting others. All the men come back and Thomas thinks marrying Elenor, who is only fourteen, is unthinkable. Elenor starts getting really upset because she doesn¿t want to get married at fourteen, but Father Gregory is trying to make her. They get locked up in the castle together to try and solve their differences, but they get out. Then they get launched off to Spain to a memorable pilgrimage. There, Elenor meets a young man and his name is Etienne, a student on his way to Santiago. Temples¿ description of the characters is really amazing. I could understand those parts of the story. Elenor is a fourteen year old girl who has to get married and doesn¿t want to. Thomas is the man they are forcing Elenor to marring. The priest is Father Gregory, who is trying to help settle problems, and Etienne is the young man who Elenor falls for. I think this book is okay, but I wouldn¿t say I was in love with it. There are a couple scenes that I don¿t get, but later on in the story, they make sense. To understand the book, the reader would really have to pay attention and to know what¿s going on. Temple¿s use of conflict and the climax has great of thought into it, and the plot structure is demanding and full of enthusiasm. The reader should expect a great deed of thinking involved throughout the story and putting all the explanations together. The reader should also expect that there are many of different plot structures in this story, so it¿s hard to put everything in the right spot. There are plenty of characters to remember and remembering how the climax is settled. The Ramsey Scallop is a medium pace read and has plenty of meaning to it. I haven¿t read any books that are actually related to The Ramsey Scallop in any way. This book is very interesting because it is way different from others. I would recommend this book to others who would actually understand it as a story in progress.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2005

    A good read..

    Elenor and Thomas are doing atonement for their town,which needs to be cleansed of its sins. They are also sent so that they might find possiblity within each other.I liked how the author was real with how people deal with others but the ending was a little blunt.A good read for someone looking at medival history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2004

    A pretty good medieval story

    This book is pretty good. It was a little slow and the ending was a bit disappointing--it didn't really tie up the loose ends or anything. I would definitely recommend it for its history, however. Overall, this is a good one-time read--but I wouldn't spend my money on it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2001

    Amazing no, spectacular an unforgetable novel

    A novel about a girl named Elenor and a man (Thomas) that she soon will marry in a prearanged marriage.A little way in the novel father Gregory sends her and Thomas on a pilgramage together.While Elenor really doesn't want to marry or even go on the pilgramage with Thomas but yet she goes on the pilgramage anyway.While Elenor is herendously negative about the pilgramage she finds away to go on anyways. Throughout the pilgramage both Elenor and Thomas start to change there feelings toward each other.While on the pilgramage there relationship begins to take a humungas turn for the best.This book will not for sure end in the way you think it will. As for most of the other reviews I have no idea what they are bickering about. This novel was encouraging to me on how always try for the best and never give up on what you do.You should always strive and enjoy what you want.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2001

    The Ramsay Scallop: Good or Great

    In the novel, The Ramsay Scallop, a young girl, Elenor,14, is waiting for the homecoming of her betrothed. A man by the name of Thomas. At the begining of the novel you find Elenor asking her towns priest, Father Gregory,for advice. Elenor is scared of what Thomas will be like when he returns from the crusades. They are asked to go on a pilgramige to France to a shrine in Spain to ask for forgivness for their towns sins. This novel is and inspiring book about a couple with one thing on their minds,ok, maybe two,to find true happiness and to find forgivness for their towns sins. If you thought living in the Middle Ages was easy you were wrong. This novel just comes to show you, not all peple start out on the right foot. If your looking for a good book I recomind The Ramsay Scallop for your summer reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2001

    The Power of Pilgramage

    The Ramsay Scallop, is a tale of Elenor, the main character, who is betrothed to Thomas, the soon to be lord of Ramsay, who is off on crusade. Thomas returns and Elenor does not like his company very much. They are sent on a pilgramage for two reasons. One the town needs to be clensed of its sins and also to allow Thomas and Elenor to work out there differences. On the way to Santiaog Thomas and Elenor meet many new freinds and fows. Most of the story is the pilgrimage to Santiago, which might have a happy or unhappy ending. The Ramsay Scallop did not have many exciting parts in it. It was very bland.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2001

    Amazing, detailed. Great Book.

    In the novel, The Ramsay Scallop, Elenor is to go on a pilgrimage with her future husband, Thomas. Thomas just returned from the war and isn't ready to marry. Elenor is only 14 and believe's she is not ready for comitment. The pilgrimage these two embark on is an incredable journey to unite the souls of the last Ramsays. During the way Thomas and Elenor are faced with problems. Not math problems. Real life problems. Do the two unite? Do they make it through the pilgrmage? Read The Ramsay Scallop. I recommend this book any one who likes adventure or suspensense. If you need a good summer read and are really into books, check out The Ramsay Scallop. And find out what happens to Elenor and Thomas.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2001

    Absolutly Wonderful

    The Ramsey Scalop is a wonderful book to read. This medieval novel is by far one of my favorites. It is thrilling, adventurous, and capturing. It is about two people who barely know each, and bound to be wed. But before that they must go on a pilgramige. They must learn how to get along with each other. On their rigerous journy they will learn more than they expected and end up thinking a whole new way before the book is over. This is a great meieval novel. I think that everyone shoul read it. Pluse its more than just and aventure book. It's much more than that.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2001

    The best meidival novel ever written!

    If you love books that are adventurous and like new things happen in almost every seen, that you would never expect. This book is exciting, thrilling,outstanding, and so many other words to describe it. Out of all of the books that I have read this is definantly one of my favorites. This book is absolutly the best medival novel ever.Two people go off on a pilgrimage together to help the Ramsay family because they have to even thought they hate each other and end up in a whole neither situation.This is a book that almost everyone could enjoy reading even if they don't completely enjoy adventure novels.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2001

    Awesome, Compelling, and Exciting. 4 stars

    Whoever you are out there that like drama, action, and travel this is the book for you!! A 14 year old girl (Elenor), is not very anxious for her betrothed, to come home from the Crusade. When he does come back, they must go on a pilgrimage to free the sins of their village. Dispite the obstacles and rough terrain, the hardest thing is to survive each other. In conclusion, this book is a great informer of what the pilgrimages were like in the middle ages.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 1999

    great great great great great great book!!! Did I mention it was great?

    There simply are no words to describe this book, astounding, marvelous, capturing, brilliant. Temple makes it feel like YOU are the main character. If your life is as dull and boring as lives go, read this book. You'll feel like a new person!I don't see how you can give this book anyhting lower than 5 stars.Trust me on this one, I've probably read more books than the aveage 80 year old.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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