Vision of Light By Judith Merkle Riley

A Vision of Light: A Margaret of Ashbury Novel (Margaret of Ashbury Trilogy) - Judith Merkle Riley

Started off potentially strong and then it became uneven for me. And then the ending picked up and finished with a cliffhanger. 


The story starts when Margaret is in her early twenties and married to her second husband. She desires to write her memoirs so she hires the reluctant Brother Gregory. After that the story jumps between the "present day" and the story of Margaret's life, beginning when she is about 11.


Until the very end, I had very little interest in the "present day" storyline as not much happened, but we are given glimpses of the kind of person Brother Gregory is and what Margaret's life is like and the type of person she has become.


I found Brother Gregory somewhat infuriating due to his extreme views about women and their incapacity for independent thought (and this is not an exaggeration. I know that women were considered inferior in the middle ages, but Gregory's stance still feels extreme. And highly offensive to a modern woman obviously). I know his character was supposed to be more funny than aggravating (i.e. his constant quest for Humility, despite his constantly arrogant thoughts and thick-headedness), but despite the intended irony, I still wanted to slap his face. Obviously this was all set up so we could witness his change due to Margaret's influence. But that literally didn't come about until like the last 10 pages and, according to the synopsis, seems to manifest itself more in the sequel. 


The story of Margaret's life was the more interesting part to me, but even then the story had its peaks and valleys and there were parts that were rather slow moving in between the interesting ones. 


Usually when I read medieval fiction I have no problem imagining the scene in my head as I read, but despite the author's extensive use of descriptive language, I found that I had a hard time creating that picture in my head during this book. And I'm not quite sure why. 


I highly caution anyone that picks up this book because they think its a romance. Its historical fiction. It sounds like the sequel may be more of a romance, but this one certainly was not. I only bring this up because I've seen it described as a romance in certain places and people that pick this up for those reasons will be disappointed. I went into it thinking it was more historical fiction and I liked it, just did not love it.