Hi Everyone! I am super thrilled to be on a wonderful blog tour today brought to you by Anne Carter from Random Things Blog Tours. Today’s review is Pilgrim by Louise Hall.
In Dublin, fourteen-year-old Jen and her father, Charlie, are struggling to cope with the death of their mother/wife. Charlie, in particular, seems to have given up on life. When Jen’s aunt, Suzanne, convinces them to go on a pilgrimage to a strange village in Yugoslavia, there is hope that some solace or healing may be brought to their broken lives. On their arrival, however, they find a village in upheaval. An influx of pilgrims have swarmed into the village, each looking for their own miracle. Then there are the local police, who aim to suppress this so-called `revolution’. Amid all this, Jen makes a friend, Iva – one of the children who claims to have seen the Virgin Mary. Told with a deep humanity and grace, Pilgrim is a story about a man who feels he has nothing to live for, and a daughter who is determined to prove him wrong. A nuanced and moving exploration of grief and faith. Unique subject matter based around the famed Medjugorje apparitions. The author already has a dedicated readership built up from her two non-fiction books on Medjugorje. This is her first fictional take on the story.
Official blurb for Pilgrim
I was really looking forward to reading something out of my comfort zone. I usually pick up a crime thriller, a horror, or magic realism to settle my fancy. Although I enjoy a wide range of genres, Pilgrim was something I was unusually drawn to.
Based on real events, Hall explores the issues of faith, belief, and hope in this highly imaginative novel. No matter where your beliefs lie, this novel sparks communication rather than debate, bringing those together rather then tearing them apart. This is a story built on the foundations of courage and anticipation, focusing on our own unique and individual journeys.
I have to say, through all the elements, it’s the characters for me that really piece this story together. Collectively tangled with imagery, the reader feels not only connected with the characters, but embarks on sharing their struggles. Of course, not everyone has decided to go on a pilgrimage, but this book reflects on the reader’s own thought processes and gives not only a sense of wonderment, but also optimism.
Again, l would stress that although focused on Christian teachings, this is not a propaganda Christian book. Hall’s piece is only based on a true events where the rest is fiction, and instead makes you think about how you would react in certain scenarios.
People find hope in the most unexpected of places, much like the characters in this book. There is no quick-fix for getting over loss, nor is here a time limit on how long you should grieve. The characters in the book aren’t wanting to get over anything, they want to be able to deal with what they have experienced. Hall guides the reader to a place where the most unlikely miracles has occurred, leaving people ready to pursue their own pilgrimages, literally or figuratively.
I was really happy that I had signed up for this blog tour. Yes- it was out of my comfort zone. But did I enjoy it? YES! This book brings a spark to your imagination, desperately clinging to the part of your brain that believes anything can happen. This beautifully crafted book is perfect for those wanting to read something a little different, or is in a reading slump. I would also suggest this book is for those who need a little escapism, a clear head, just some time to sit back and think.
Thank you to Anne Carter for my spot on the tour and my copy of Pilgrim! Thank you also to the author, Louise Hall.
How to get your hands on a copy:
About the author: Louise Hall.
Louise Hall is from Malahide, Co. Dublin. She has previously published two works of non-fiction, Medjugorje: What it Means to Me and Medjugorje and Me: A Collection of Stories from Across the World. Her fiction has been published in The Irish Times and been shortlisted for numerous competitions, such as the RTÉ Guide/Penguin Short Story Award, the Colm Tóibín International Short Story Competition and the Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Awards. Pilgrim is her debut novel.
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Happy reading! Lx
All images courtesy of Anne Carter
Author Bio courtesy of Anne Carter