As my eight-year old has already remarked, we’ve already had great weather to cozy up near a fire under a blanket with a book. One of my latest reads has been The Fires of Autumn by Lutheran author Rhonda Chandler, a piece of historical fiction that warmed me in several ways. My review is below.
The Fires of Autumn Review
This was a beautifully written piece. If nothing else, read it to learn that the story’s translating room and ink smelled of bitter fig!
The narration follows Fabrizio in his simple devout life as a Franciscan friar goat-herder. That life gets interrupted when his Friary becomes a site for dialogue between the Inquisition and the Spirituals or Rigorists, a particularly vocal and strict sect of Franciscans.
The novel is set in the fourteenth century (i.e., before the Reformation). With that setting, this book becomes a wonderful conversation piece for Christians of any western Christian background. It delves wonderfully into spiritual comforts and considerations, regardless of one’s education or intellectualism.
The book deals with the very real tensions involved with how to view and live with those who do not share, or respect, your practices. It brings up topics like Christian unity, repentance, and caring for the poor even when dangerous. It also reminds me of many of the advantages we have, including complete and readily available Bibles!
A bit in the background, the Friary is hosting and coordinating additional copies of the Epistle to the Romans. With that the author skillfully intersperses passages of Scripture and theological conversations without straying too far into academia or historical minutiae.
This was a great book. I would very happily love to read more from this author. As a Lutheran, I really appreciated how Law and Gospel were treated, both obedience and faith. There was also a lot of vocational love and appreciation!
Reading this also happened to make me want to make goat cheese. What a book!
Well done, Rhonda Chandler! I’ve already loaned the book to my mother with an eagerness to be able to discuss it with her! 🙂 High praise indeed! lol