Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Review: The Hardest Thing To Do

The Hardest Thing to Do

I read very few fiction books.  And the books I chose are almost never written in this century or even the previous.  However, when I was given the chance to review this book I accepted and I'm glad that I did!

The Hardest Thing To Do is set in a fourteenth-century monastery.  The author skillfully draws the reader into the lives of the monks and their struggle with "the hardest thing to do."  For some monks, the hardest thing to do is to forgive an enemy.  For others, it is to see another person's point of view.  And for still others, the novices, the hardest thing to do is to close the door without making a sound.  

This book did not have me sitting on the edge of my seat, racing through it to see would happen next.  But that is a good thing.  In fact, I read it rather slowly because the writing was so good.  

In the following excerpt, the Abbot (basically the head monk) is wrestling with an important decision while his assistant, Brother Thomas, is angry with Abbot John over another matter.
Normally he (Abbot John) would have sought an opinion from Brother Thomas, but at the present time he felt reluctant to ask him anything.  As (Abbott) John sat at his table perusing this letter among so many others, Brother Thomas was cleaning the abbot's lodging in loud silence.  It is hard to rebuke a brother for silence.  Monks are supposed to keep silence. Rules are a convenient refuge at times.  
I love the last three sentences!  And the writing is like this all the way through.  

The Hardest Thing To Do is the fourth book in the Hawk and the Dove series.  I have not read the first three books but they have been recommended to me many, many times.  The author does provide a character list in the front and a glossary of terms which makes reading the book out of order doable.  If you can, start with the first book.  If you can't, read this book anyway.  It is a gem!

I received this book free from Crossway in exchange for an honest review.


  1. I didn't know this book existed... but one of my all-time favorites is the Hawk and the Dove trilogy. I am so glad you will soon read them, Jenny! I literally am teary for parts of almost every single chapter... so convicted and touched by the message of the characters' choices and actions. LOVE them. I have to read them once every two years or so... I read them in Liberia this past winter! :)
    Anyway... so glad there is a fourth! Thanks for posting!

  2. Wow! You used precious suitcase space to bring that big book to Liberia. That is testimony enough to it's greatness!

    Oh, and this book was just released last month so don't feel too out of the loop. I sometimes get books to review before they are available for purchase. That way the reviews are available for people right away on the release date.