Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ARC copy from Thomas Nelson and TNZ Fiction Guild
“Over the years, as the trees grew from seedlings to saplings to mature trees, as lambs and goats and dogs and calves and foals were born and grew and engendered their own young, this and a thousand, thousand other things of country life, endlessly ripening, dying, renewing, rubbed away the sharp edges of my grief like waves on rock until only the weight of it remained.”
-Thoughts from X
X, the anonymous and forgotten concubine of Augustine of Hippo, has a story of love, family, Christianity, despair, and grief to share. The novel is slow to get started as it begins with a rambling narration by an old woman. The story gains momentum as it unfolds with the telling of the old woman’s life from childhood. She is called by many names throughout her life, Little Bird, Naiad, Mother, and Domina; however, her real name remains a mystery.
The great love of her life is Augustine of Hippo, the son of a wealthy family who very honestly tells her he can never marry her when they are young. She has no apprehensions about being his concubine so great was her love for him. During that time period concubinage often bespoke of a monogamous relationship between two people who could not marry for legal reasons. Although her heart and soul are truly committed to Augustine, eventually, in my opinion, it is really Nebridius, her old childhood friend and close friend of Augustine, who shows her true care and love.
The novel is an eclectic mix of history, faith, and life’s struggles. X pulls deep strength from the people and the world around her. As a woman living in a very limited world, I believe she made the best of her circumstances. The book offers an interesting look at the world during a time when Rome dominated the civilized world, even as far away as Africa, where the story begins.
This ARC copy was received from TNZ Fiction Guild, in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.