Dramatic and intense story written in 1993 based loosely on the Magdalen theme popularized by "The DaVincin Code". Very detailed historical
plot that pits the heroine with mystical talents against the hierarchy of the Catholic Church of 13th century France.
It's interesting to see how others see a book I truly enjoyed. For example, I found that the term Cathars used in this novel was actually coined later than the period for which the book was written. The term Bon Hommes was the first used to refer to people with their humble beliefs. The Albigensian Crusade pit a force from northern France against the group and systematically wiped it out in the name of the Catholic church. Of course, the church confiscated the lands and property of the southern lords who sheltered the groups.
It is 1207 when Bridgets mother dies from being tortured for her heresy, leaving Bridget a continue the bloodline. Raoul de Montvallant is a newly wed young southern lord, (Catholic), whose family has long protected those who live in their area. Bridget and her daughter Magda who believe that they are descended from Mary Magdelene, concentrate on healing those who need their talents. Asked to crusade against the Cathars by Simon de Montfort (the elder) Raoul agrees at first as he sees it as the only way to keep his land from the invading northerners. However, but the Inquisitions savage attacks cause Raoul to rebel. Bridget must have a child to continue her line power. She believes that Raoul is the appropriate father and her daughter, Magda, is born. From that point it's Magda's survival that is important.
Whether or not such powers existed, I did enjoy how Chadwick brought this medieval period to life including the people and their personalities, food, sights, sounds, smells, clothes and battles. Wow!
My first Chadwick was Shadows and Strongholds followed by Lords of the White Castle both of which have a strong romantic element (along with all the Historical facts), so I expected the same from this one as well... which it turns out was unwise. Despite a few sex scenes, Daughters of the Grail> is not a traditional romance in any sense of the word.
If you disregard that (which for a romance reader such as myself is a bit difficult) this is not a bad read. It's actually quite an interesting story (one that I hadn't even contemplated before, and wouldn't mind reading more about), with quite a few main characters you can't help but get invested in. Plus nothing ends the way you assume it will, things kept happening that I never would have guessed. While I still wish it had a bit more on the romance front, I'm not sorry I read it.
So even though it wasn't what I expected, this was definitely worth the read (as well as the cost)!
Mystical mumbo jumbo about Mary Magdalen's descendant and her self-absorbed mission to protect some scrolls and get impregnated by a chosen one to carry on the bogus lineage.