The Illuminator by Brenda Rickman Vantrease.
St. Martin's Press: NY, 2005.

Caught between the Church's tithes and the Court's taxes, Lady Kathryn of Blackingham struggles to maintain control of her family's lands in the late fourteenth century. She makes a deal with a nearby abbey to board an illuminator and his daughter in return for money and protection. They forge close ties despite the secrets the illuminator harbors. One being his copying of an English translation of the Bible for John Wycliffe.

During this time period, both self-study of the Bible and religion and personal freedom for all were becoming political issues. Books were rare and costly because of the time and education required for hand copying. The masses could not read (or understand, in many cases) the Latin and Norman in which the books were published, so the introduction of English copies was an important advancement. However, making the Bible accessible to the masses did also have the effect of increasing rebellion.

A complex story of love (different types) and betrayal which examines spiritual and economic oppression during a most turbulent and intriguing time. The book was published as adult fiction, but the description of relations is minimal. It is more philosophical than physical, and the historical content is both educational and fascinating.
related-history of England, 14th century, Roman Catholic Church, John Wycliffe, Bishop Henry Despenser, John Ball, Julian of Norwich, peasants' revolt of 1381, philosophy leading towards the Reformation, Lollards, historical fiction

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