The pilgrimage to Canterbury has been a mainstay in the church since before the 14th century, and has become the nexus of the Canterbury Tales by Chaucer. Those familiar with that work will see the obvious correlations, and Kim Wight does add a wonderful element of storytelling in the tradition of Chaucer to her new release,
The Canterbury Sisters
Starting with Che Milan, and a life that she feels is heading off a cliff. Her longtime lover has found happiness with another, leaving her alone to deal with the death of her mother:. With her mother’s ashes is a note reminding her of a long-ago promise (mostly made to quash the endless refrain) that Che will take her to Canterbury
A story with a compelling character in an interesting journey to retrace the 60 miles from London to the Cathedral that houses the shrine to Becket, like Lourdes, thought to be the site where miracles happen. Google the Canterbury Pilgrimage today and you will find pages of tour organizers, Priests, information and advice on the journey, the options are vast. But, having few reasons to stay at home, Che makes her way to London and joins in with a group of women and one teenager who are undertaking the pilgrimage for their own reasons.
A bit of a technophile, with her own perfectionist tendencies and an inability to relax, Che is unable to really connect to the journey or the other women until she misplaces her mobile and is forced to put her head in the game. When it is suggested that they all tell a story of love during their journey, the connection to Chaucer comes to life and the true skill of the author is highlighted. Each story is unique yet common in the feelings and emotions, with voices that range from resigned to regretful, as each person developed with a complexity that is not unlike the teacups on the cover: seemingly one thing with one purpose, but surprisingly strong, resilient and beautiful just as they are. Kudos to Wright for the singularly compelling stories, each sharing and receiving advice, commiseration, support and even sharing some laughs along the way.
Travelogue, self-reflection, camaraderie and support are all highlights of the story, making for a compelling read that is more wonderful not for the uniqueness of the stories, but for the common experiences, emotions and sense of friendship that develops throughout the story. While it starts with Che, it really is a story of everyone’s ability to learn that they are not alone, or without understanding in this miasma called humanity. A book that will leave you thinking long after the last page.
Title: The Canterbury Sisters
Author: Kim Wright
Genre: Literary Fiction
Published by: Gallery Books
Published on: 19 May 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 37 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
Che Milan’s life is falling apart. Not only has her longtime lover abruptly dumped her, but her eccentric, demanding mother has recently died. When an urn of ashes arrives, along with a note reminding Che of a half-forgotten promise to take her mother to Canterbury, Che finds herself reluctantly undertaking a pilgrimage.
Within days she joins a group of women who are walking the sixty miles from London to the shrine of Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, reputed to be the site of miracles. In the best Chaucer tradition, the women swap stories as they walk, each vying to see who can best describe true love. Che, who is a perfectionist and workaholic, loses her cell phone at the first stop and is forced to slow down and really notice the world around her, perhaps for the first time in years.
Through her adventures along the trail, Che finds herself opening up to new possibilities in life and discovers that the miracles of Canterbury can take surprising forms.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.