Beloved Pilgrim (2nd Edition), Christopher Hawthorne Moss
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Genre: LGBT (T), Historical
At the time of the earliest Crusades, young noblewoman Elisabeth longs to be the person she’s always known is hidden inside. When her twin brother perishes from a fever, Elisabeth takes his identity to live as a man, a knight. As Elias, he travels to the Holy Land, to adventure, passion, death, and a lesson that honor is sometimes found in unexpected places.
Elias must pass among knights and soldiers, survive furious battle, deadly privations, moral uncertainty, and treachery if he’ll have any chance of returning to his newfound love in the magnificent city of Constantinople.
1st edition by Nan Hawthorne published by Shieldwall Books, February 2011.
This book is difficult for me to rate for many reasons. One of them being it was my first Trans book. I liked the beginning of it and I thought I was going to end up loving this book. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
My favourite character in the whole book was Elias, the real Elias. I liked Elizabeth/Elias too, but his brother was a really lovable character for me. I think that could be one of my issues. He died, as we know from the blurb, and it kind of made it hard for me to love this book once he wasn’t in the book. I loved how easily Elias accepted what Elizabeth told him on his death bed, and for me that cemented him as my favourite in the book.
This book has three love stories told in it. Elias and Albrecht (Elias’s brother and his lover) Albrecht and Andronikos, and Elias and Maliha. While none of them really took over the book, the relationship between Elias (the brother) and Albrecht was there pretty much throughout and as a couple they felt real together. With Albrecht and Andronikos, I didn’t really feel that much. Elias and Maliha, I liked parts of it, but there were other parts that didn’t work as well for me. I can’t really pinpoint my main issue with the relationships, but I think it was the lack of romance for me. Yes, there were elements in the story, but it wasn’t as much as I am used to and I would have liked more. Also I felt like Maliha’s son, Tacetin, could have been in it a bit more too.
Saying all that, I did like Elias/Elizabeth as a character. His relationship with his brother was beautiful and the determination he displayed in the book endeared me to him as a character. I like the journey from Elizabeth to Elias. Although I would have like to have seen a bit more, for a historical setting it was very good in that respect. I really liked how Elias worried about keeping his secret and the lengths he went to, to hide the fact he was a woman. I thought that was definitely a huge bonus for me because I did wonder if everyone would find out in the end. And I wasn’t disappointed by the outcome there.
The ending, for me, was another strong point of the book (maybe even the strongest part of the book). The one time I felt a really big connection between Elias and Maliha was in the last scene of the book. There was a real love and devotion there and the glimmer of happiness at the end, in a book that had a lot of sadness, made it so worth the read and even improved my overall mood. There is a happy ending in this, one I would probably describe as a HEA but some might call in a HFN. But for me, personally, I was really pleased with the ending.
Overall, Beloved Pilgrim is a three star read for me. I enjoyed parts of it and equally there are parts that didn’t work for me. I think the thing for me is, I can handle a book not having romance, but when there is romance, I like there to be a bit more than there was in this book. But for me, the ending was very strong so I can actually overlook that bit to say I did like the book. It just wasn’t perfect.
This book was provided by Harmony Ink Press in exchange for a fair and honest review.