Unrest In Edenby Florence Byham Weinberg
Father Ignaz Pfefferkorn, ex-S.J., released in January, 1778, and destitute after ten years of Spanish imprisonment, begs his way across France to his home in the Rhineland. He arrives in Unkel-on-the Rhine to find factional strife and ultimately murder in his hoped-for paradise. He is recruited to solve the crime, aided by unlikely helpers: a wealthy Cologne socialite and a head smuggler. He succeeds, only to find himself caught in the cross-fire of the French Revolutionary Army's invasion of his homeland.
"In the fourth volume of the Pfefferkorn-Quartet, F. Weinberg portrays Father Ignaz Pfefferkorn's return to his home town, Unkel on the Rhine. Instead of the anticipated paradise, he finds factional conflict, which ensnares him. Once a mysterious murder is solved, peace returns again to "paradise." Weinberg's gripping novel portrays, with historical precision, the cultural, political and spiritual situation in the Rhineland of the 18th-century. For the general reader, especially those with historical interests, this book is highly recommended."
~ Rudolf Vollmer, City Historian, Unkel-am-Rhein
- Paladin Timeless Books
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.67(d)
Meet the Author
A native of Alamogordo, NM, Florence traveled extensively with her military family during World War II. Travels continued in Canada, France, Spain and Germany, after marriage to scholar-critic Kurt Weinberg. After earning her PhD, she taught for twenty-two years at St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY, and ten at Trinity University, San Antonio. She continues to travel and write, enjoying riding, hiking, swimming, reading, and good conversation.
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This is the second book I’ve read by Florence Weinberg, and I intend to keep reading. Both books feature a Catholic priest as protagonist, but there the similarity ends. Anselm, the priest in the other book, is an evil person who steals the body of a young man. Father Ignaz, the narrator of Unrest in Eden, is thoroughly decent. I have read many books about the Napoleonic era, but learned lots from this one. Florence has brought to life an aspect of 18th century culture that’s new to me. When I read historical fiction, I often feel the need to check up on the author (and many times, I’ve found my doubts rather than the author’s creation confirmed). Florence depiction is so convincing that I have been able to go with it, without the need to check. After finishing, I did look up a few references, and found this book to be fully accurate. As I said, I’ve really got to like Father Ignaz, and became involved in his all too challenging adventures. They include the solving of a murder, complicated by local politics, rumor, and the personal loyalties of all too veridical people. Most murder mysteries end at the solution of a crime. This one doesn’t, but then goes on to cover war, from the perspective of the devastated civilian population. And, in a completely unexpected way, the story ends with love. A definite 5 stars for this enjoyable book.
Reviewed by Stefan Vucak for Readers Favorite Returning from the New World after eleven years of missionary work, Ignaz Pfefferkorn, a Jesuit priest, is imprisoned in Spain for ten years after the order was disbanded by Papal decree. In 1796, he is finally free and makes his way home to the Rhineland. Walking, doing odd jobs along the way, stricken with illness, Ignaz finally manages to reach Unkel and his family. After a long convalescence, he is cured and obtains a position as assistant priest at a local parish. The Pastor is accused of murdering a young man and Ignaz gets involved in trying to solve the crime. After a lengthy investigation, it turns out that it was the local doctor, involved with drug smugglers, who murdered the man to cover up his habit, framing the Pastor. French troops invade the Rhineland, killing and pillaging along the way. Abandoning the priesthood, Ignaz takes a wife. Based on a genuine person, in this superbly written and researched work, although the appendices are more suitable for a scholarly dissertation, the reader is plunged into the daily lives and family politics of a small German town along the Rhine. The reader needs to like family intrigues to enjoy this work, as there is little drama and tension one expects in a fictional novel. I enjoyed the subtle village life he leads, but found Ignaz somewhat shallow, doubting himself and his vocation. In the end, with the French marauding everywhere and Ignaz taking a woman, the reader is left without any substance. Had the author narrated Ignaz’s life and adventures in the New World, it would have made for a much more fascinating book. Florence Weinberg wields her pen with consummate skill, and her narrative and dialogue cannot be faulted. Given her extensive research, she portrays a vivid picture of Rhineland life in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. "Unrest in Eden" is a heavy work and makes the reader think, but some may not find it digestible.