"The Illuminator" by Brenda Rickman Vantrease is, I gather, a first novel - which surprises me. The plotting is so perfect with rarely a wasted scene that one would suspect it to be the work of a seasoned author. Many figures of late 14th century England are either participants or in the shadows. John of Gaunt's palace sacked, Boy King Richard meeting with the rebels - these events are background colors in this intricate painting of a book that has at its core a painted altarpiece done by an artist in captivity.
The anchoress Julian of Norwich is a prominent person, with her vision of the Mother Love of Christ shining through the events of the story. This permeation makes me want to explore the stories of female mystics of the time. And Wycliffe's influence is shot through the text both in the efforts at the translation of the Bible into English and a result of mob rule without respect for the established Church. It is altogether a rippling time of convulsive change, a fine era to explore by reading an architecturally fine novel.