Historical Novel Society - Book Review

A review for 'Becoming St. Patrick', by Aidan K Morrissey

'Hail glorious St. Patrick, dear saint of our isle' is the opening line of the Irish hymn to their patron saint. This excellently researched and brilliantly inventive novel shows that the early years of one of the world's famous saints was anything but glorious, and he certainly was not sainted on his first, enforced, trip to the Emerald Isle.

Patricius, born of a wealthy family in the north-west of Britain, is snatched during a daring raid of Irish marauders and taken back to Ireland. He is sold as a slave to a king from the west and told, in no uncertain terms that 'no foreign slave has ever escaped from Ireland'. He is trained as a shepherd, and in the pastoral hills he finds solace, friendship and love. At times he wonders if he should stay in Ireland, be content with his life, and become a freeman. However, God has other plans! After six years, a divine message tells him his boat is readied, and he makes the perilous overland journey south and east and finds a port and a ship to take him to Gaul. However, his troubles are not over, and it takes time, trials and tribulations before his emotional reunion with his parents.

For this reviewer, what makes a good historical novel great is when the author tells the most accurate story possible from historical references and fills the gaps with excellent time-relevant characters and events. Eric Foster has done this and more.

Sticking faithfully to the story of St. Patrick, written in his own words in his Confessio, the author creates a highly believable pagan Ireland whose hills, way of life, and occasional battles are filled with fabulous characters and believable dialogue. This is a book to be proud of and a pleasure to read. 


Interesting, Profound and Serious

A review for 'Becoming St. Patrick', by Andreas Groesch

A well written, profound and serious historical novel - taking the reader to people and places new to us. I enjoyed every minute of ' Becoming St. Patrick - His Slavery.' I look forward to the obvious sequel.'

Andreas Groesch, M. A. English and German. Retired English Literature teacher, Bremen June 2023

Truly a Revelation

A review for 'Becoming St. Patrick', by Richenda - for The North Mayo and West Sligo Heritage Group

'Becoming St. Patrick - His Slavery' truly is a revelation - digging deep to illuminate the person who Patrick was and became.

 The unique perspective makes this novel a page-turning, curiosity journey, where every incident leads one along the path of establishing what made Patrick who he became.

   These days we turn up at parades on March 17th, the world over, where rivers are dyed green and lights flash green on famous buildings: but this book dares to bring us into his very life, asking the question,  'who was the man who became the saint.

   An intriguing read from start to finish, delving into the formation of Patrick's character - making one think of the challenges Patrick faced and his capacity to evaluate and overcome them.

   Foster gives a great insight into the young man we all know of, but will never truly understand.  This book goes some way, into triggering our imagination, as to who St. Patrick was and what greatness can be born of a challenging life at an early age.

   Having read the first book, I am looking forward to reading how Patrick's life develops in the sequel.

Review by Richenda - for North Mayo and West Sligo Heritage Group.

September 2023  

A reflection

A review for 'Becoming St. Patrick', by Tom Henry

A wonderfully written and reearched book that enables the reader to walk in the fifth century footsteps of St. Patrick - bringing the era alive that he lived in, and the places he left his influence, real and vibrant on today's landscape. 

Jim Henry - founder membebr of North Mayo and West Sligo Heritage Group.

August 2023

Walking with Patrick

A review for 'Becoming St. Patrick', by Terry McQuillan, B.A. - Head of English

I walked with Patrick, thoroughly enjoying the story; written with quality and depth. Although I couldn't wait to see what happened next and how things finished, I didn't want the book to end either. I look forward to the sequel. Five stars.

March 2023