Monday, June 17, 2013

The Dove in the Eagle's Nest

Book: The Dove in the Eagle's Nest by Charlotte Yonge

Published: 1866

Description: Christina was raised by her God-fearing and respectable aunt and uncle until her father returns and forces her to return with him to the den of thieves he calls home--for her father is a bandit, and now Christina must live among them. (My own quick summary)

My Thoughts: I ran across a mention of The Dove in the Eagle's Nest in a reading for class and thought it sounded just so interesting that I downloaded it from Project Gutenberg almost right away.

I was not disappointed. The Dove in the Eagle's Nest was a great read. It was written in the 1860s, and definitely was rather Victorian in its emphases, especially on the gentling, kindly effect of a virtuous woman. Christina is fantastically good at civilizing everyone around her. Christianity was a huge part of her influence, however, and I loved the Christian atmosphere of the book. There was an emphasis on doing what is right simply because it is right. Perhaps my one objection to the book was the fact that Christianity came across as useful and good only in that it helps to civilize and gentle those who would otherwise be cruel and violent. Of course God does that, but Christianity is so much more! It is never good to see Christianity as only a means to an end--God is so much bigger than that, and He will not be used. We must come to Him on His terms or not at all.

I also really enjoyed the setting of The Dove in the Eagle's Nest: late 15th and early 16th century Germany (although of course at the time it was just hundreds of independent principalities), just before the Reformation. Yonge obviously viewed the historical setting as important for the novel (the book has a preface and epilogue, both dealing with the historical context), and many political events did end up becoming important. It was a very pleasant way to learn about a specific period of German history.

The Dove in the Eagle's Nest was a very pleasant, enjoyable read. Definitely recommended!

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