This book follows a widow as she leaves a prominent government position to enter a Benedictine monastery. Though Brede is a fictional monastery, the author lived in close proximity to a real one to gain insight and knowledge of the order. The pace of the novel is measured, like the life at the abbey.
The very first words reminded me more of my life as a mother than of what I thought a monastery life would be.
The motto was 'Pax,' but the word was set in a circle of thorns. Pax: peace, but what a strange peace, made of unremitting toil and effort, seldom with a seen result; subject to constant interruptions, unexpected demands, short sleep at nights, little comfort, sometimes scant food; beset with disappointments and usually misunderstood; yet peace all the same, undeviating, filled with joy and gratitude and love. "It is My own peace I give unto you." Not, notice, the world's peace.The monastery walls enclose a community of prayer, but also of mystery, creativity, industry, jealousy, sin, forgiveness, fear, anxiety, and courage.