Angeline

Description

182 pages
$15.99
ISBN 0-00-639343-8
DDC jC813'.54

Year

2004

Contributor

Reviewed by Dave Jenkinson

Dave Jenkinson is a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba and the author of the “Portraits” section of Emergency Librarian.

Review

Bradford’s earlier historical novels—There Will Be Wolves, Shadows
on a Sword, and Lionheart’s Scribe—dealt with the first three
crusades. A wonderful read, Angeline is embedded within the ill-fated
Children’s Crusade of 1212 A.D., which fell between the fifth and
sixth crusades. Led by Stephen of Cloyes, a shepherd boy who believed he
had a message from Jesus to raise an army of children to liberate
Jerusalem, the doomed quest resulted in several thousand children either
drowning on their way to the Holy Land or being sold into slavery.

The book’s title character, Angeline, along with Stephen and Father
Martin, become slaves in an emir’s Cairo home. There, the 14-year-old
girl becomes the personal servant of Zahra (the emir’s favourite
concubine) and her young daughter, Aza, while Father Martin tutors the
emir’s son, and Stephen assists the priest and works in the gardens.
During the story, which spans more than a year, Angeline unknowingly
becomes part of Zahra’s plan to purchase her freedom from the emir, a
strategy that involves having Angeline replace her as a concubine.
Though circumstances see Angeline spending only one night with the emir
(a happening that Bradford deals with most discreetly), Angeline
nonetheless becomes pregnant, a situation that complicates her growing
and reciprocated love relationship with Stephen, who has been wracked by
a loss of faith.

Much of the book’s action is limited to the confines of the harem,
but readers (especially girls) will be entranced by Bradford’s rich
recreation of the historical setting and will become engrossed in the
lively interactions among characters from different cultures. Highly
recommended.

Citation

Bradford, Karleen., “Angeline,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/22261.