Brigid of Ireland
Brigid of Ireland tells the story of how Ireland’s 5th-century patron saint received her calling. Brigid, a Christian slave, is taken from her slave mother at a young age to live in the pagan household of her father. Her unorthodox behavior – giving away her father’s goods – eventually earns Brigid her freedom, which is tantamount to a condemnation to poverty and death. She finds herself drawn to a path of evangelism and charity, but never gives up her dream of finding her mother. Her fame and influence spread quickly, and she finds opposition from druids and rulers who fear that her “king” will diminish their own power. One in particular, Ardan, a druid who has departed from the rules of the brotherhood, is determined to find Brigid’s weakness and manipulate her so that she will serve his own ambitions rather than her God.
Recreating a believable, miracle-performing saint is no easy task. It is not therefore surprising that sometimes it felt hard to empathize with the character of Brigid. However, the strength of the novel lies in the richly-woven narrative and a sensitive evocation of the faiths of Ireland. I certainly feel that Cindy Thomson is an emerging talent and would read her next book, projected also to be set in ancient Ireland. Recommended for both adults and young adults.