Frances Beer’s Pilgrims in Love involves a re-visioning of the Canterbury Tales, told from the point of view of Alison, Wife of Bath, and Eglentyne, Prioress. Both undertake the pilgrimage to Canterbury because of personal crises that they face as they approach middle age. In the course of their journey they grow out of the straight-jackets that have been imposed on them by medieval misogyny, become wiser and more compassionate. They learn to love others, and most importantly, themselves.
“This novel has everything Chaucer would have loved. Like The Canterbury Tales, of which it is a richly inventive reinterpretation, it is by turns bawdy, rowdy, tender, hilarious and moving. The female narrators are captivating, their surprising relationship an exotic flower of sisterhood.”
~John Unrau, D. Phil., Oxon, Professor of English, York University and author of Looking at Architecture with Ruskin, Ruskin and St. Mark’s, and Iced Tea, a book of poems.
“In Pilgrims in Love, the author sets herself a daunting task: to re-imagine The Canterbury Tales from the points of view of Chaucer’s ‘cheerful reprobate,’ the Wife of Bath, and her ‘worthy opponent,’ the fastidious Prioress. Drawing on her deep knowledge of medieval history, Beer fills in the suggestive blanks in Chaucer’s Tales, creating a vivid and skillful narrative of medieval life, particularly the lives of women. As the pilgrimage unfolds, both women challenge the narrow choices of their day – marriage or the convent – with a sensibility that is distinctly modern and feminist, yet wholly in keeping with the spirit of the original text. The result, like of Wife of Bath herself, is ‘glorious’ and will engage any reader who has ever grappled with the battle of the sexes and (wo)man’s place in creation.”
~Jeanne Lockridge, Ph.D., Harvard University, Vice President, Erikson Institute
“Ever wonder what happened to Alison, Chaucer’s lusty, cantankerous, vibrant Wife of Bath – she with five husbands behind her and ‘welcome sixth, whan that ever he shal’? In Pilgrims in Love, Frances Beer provides a piquant answer in her lively, sometimes poignant, often hilarious account of the ensnaring of the sixth. Read it and laugh.”
~Naomi Diamond, Ph.D., University of Washington; From Every Shires Ende: The World of Chaucer’s Pilgrims, Researcher, Writer, Co-Director; Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, CBC Series for Schools and Youth, Researcher and Writer.