The Ramsay Scallop

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9780064406017: The Ramsay Scallop

The year is 1299. Fourteen year-old Elenor reluctanly awaits the return of her betrothed -- a man she hardly knows -- from the Crusade. Thomas, broken and disillusioned from years of fighting, finds the very idea of marriage and lordship overwhelming. So When the village priest sends them on religious pilgrimage before the marriage, both are relieved. The journey means a postponement of the dreaded nuptials, and a last chance for adventure. As Eleanor and thomas wend their way toward the shrine of St. James, they meet mant other pilgrims -- each with their own extraordinary tales to tell and ideas to share. There is Etienne, a passionate student of philosophy; Brother Ambrose, gentle teacher of Sschoolboys; practical Marthe, eager for a decent life for her children. And graually Eleanor and Thomas come to realize the glorious possibilities of the world around them... within each other.

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About the Author:

Frances Temple grew up in Virginia, France, and Vietnam. About her third book she wrote, "The Ramsay Scallop is about our need for adventure and motion, for throwing in with strangers, trusting and listening. The story began to take form in northern Spain along pilgrim trails; was fed by histories, stories, letters, by the testimony of a fourteenthcentury shepherd, by the thoughts of today's pilgrims. Concerns echo across years-clean water, good talk, risks welcomed, the search for a peaceful heart. Traveling in Elenor's shoes, I found out how strongly the tradition of pilgrimage continues."Ms. Temple received many honors during her distinguished career. Her other critically acclaimed books for young people include: FranceTaste of Salt A Story of Modern Haiti, winner of the 1993 Jane Addams Children's Book Award; Grab hands and Run, cited by SchoolLibrary journal as one of the Best Books of 1993; and Tonight, by Sea another novel set in Haiti.

From Kirkus Reviews:

In a remarkable departure, Temple (A Taste of Salt, 1992; Grab Hands and Run, 1993), turns from powerful, harrowing novels of today's Third World to a captivating 13th-century idyll. Elenor dreads the return of her betrothed, Thomas, from a crusade; remembering him as an arrogant tease, she fears losing her autonomy and even (like her mother) her life, in childbirth. She confides her distress in Father Gregory, who also hears Thomas's confession when he comes home deeply troubled by a mission whose horrors have destroyed his ideals and having no wish to wed ``The Brat'' to further his father's territorial schemes. Wisely, the old priest sets a penance for both: a celibate pilgrimage to Santiago, in Spain. During the long journey from England the two befriend a series of other pilgrims with whom they exchange help, songs, and stories (some with a strong resonance with the present); both learn the joy of giving and doing while their distrust is transformed into an affection ``so fine, so frail'' that one friend wants to ``cup his hands around it [like] a tinder spark, to give it every chance''; and then a deep tenderness, warmed by the passion to come. Like Marchette Chute's, this is an innocent wayfaring; no lusty Wife of Bath or vicious Pardoner mars the pair's discovery of their fellow humans' rich variety (including an Albigensian heretic and a Muslim), of each other, and of the changing landscape that Temple describes with singularly unpretentious beauty. Varying her point of view from one sharply realized character to another in lively cinematic vignettes, she recreates medieval Europe at its best--a place where faith, trust, and generosity could be rewarded in kind. A throwback with a contemporary sensibility; an enchanting pilgrimage to self-realization, service, and love. (Fiction. 11+) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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