Georgette: Her own mother died in childbirth, leaving Georgette with a father who, seventeen at the time, had neither experience nor aptitude as a nurturing parent, and a brother known in town as Le Fuer - The Spitfire - for his terrible temper.
Perhaps to replace something missing from their own lives, both Robert and Georgette are drawn to the news of a crusader, twelve or thirteen, no older than themselves, travelling down through France with thousands of followers - all, unbelievably, children too. Of those thousands, this is the incredible story of two. This is a story of hardship, loss and love.
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The first chapter of Crusade had me hooked, starting with Robert's story of how he ended up with the scar on his face and then how he ended up in the clutches of Pere Abbe. After this chapter the book moves on to Georgette, who is a peasant living with her father and brother in a small village. Georgette has a friend, Father David, who teaches her to read, which is quite unusual for a Peasant girl but fits with Georgette’s intelligent character perfectly. Christianity, Robert and Georgette's faith, is what eventually brings them together and is always there, throughout the whole of book.
A lot of the story is devoted to The Children's Crusade in France, where the 'Prophet' Stephen leads around 2,000 pure souls - children - to the Holy Land. Georgette, Gregor (her brother) and Robert plus any children from Georgette's village all decide to join the Crusade. The way isn't easy and many fall and die from such a hard journey.
In the first half, Georgette and Robert don't really talk to each other, but they notice each other. I was desperately hoping they would fall in love with each other and thankfully they do. The second half (technically it's a little less than half but it feels like the second half) is devoted to Georgette and Robert and what they do after the Crusade. I loved this part the best as I wasn't expecting it at all! I was expecting the book to end when the Crusade did. There were quite a few surprises along the way for me, which I can't say due to spoilers... but they're brilliant.
Although The Children's Crusade is quite a popular subject, I haven't seen many books about it and the only YA book I've read about it other than this one was part of the Angels Unlimited/Agent Angel series by Annie Dalton. So my knowledge was a little limited. Thankfully I know a bit more now.
Linda Press Wulf is definitely an Author to look out for if you love Historical YA, like I do. The writing is beautiful and I completely lost myself in the story. The world she created was very vivid and I could easily picture everything going on around me. I’m definitely going to look out for more by her!
Received free from Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review