Skirting Heresy: The Life and Times of Margery Kempe  -     By: Elizabeth MacDonald
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Skirting Heresy: The Life and Times of Margery Kempe

Franciscan Media / 2014 / Paperback

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Product Description

It was perhaps England's darkest hour. The roots of the Protestant Reformation were in place, although it would be another century before Martin Luther and King Henry XIII upended Catholicism. It was a time when unauthorized preaching was against the law, and there was a death penalty in place to stop heresy; even Catholic priests were being burned alive.

Margery Kempe was born into this world. She dared to follow the truth, and the calling she knew came from Jesus Christ himself. But she paid mightily for it, and she was repeatedly arrested, put on trial, even threatened with death. Kempe's only lifeline was her wit, determination, and a few influential friends who believed in her cause. You will be riveted by this tale of a woman who is credited with dictating the first autobiography in English, The Book of Margery Kempe. It is an account of a rare and courageous woman, a saint of the Anglican church, who dared to stand up for what she believed in.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 192
Vendor: Franciscan Media
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 1616367164
ISBN-13: 9781616367169

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Publisher's Description

It was perhaps England’s darkest hour. The roots of the Protestant Reformation were in place, although it would be another century before Martin Luther and King Henry VIII upended Catholicism. It was a time when unauthorized preaching was against the law, and there was a death penalty in place to stop heresy; even Catholic priests were being burned alive.

Margery Kempe was born into this world. She dared to follow her truth, and the calling she knew came from Jesus Christ himself. But she paid mightily for it, and she was repeatedly arrested, put on trial, even threatened with death. Kempe’s only lifeline was her wit, determination, and a few influential friends who believed in her cause.

You will be riveted by this tale of a woman who is credited with dictating the first autobiography in English, The Book of Margery Kempe. It is an account of a rare and courageous woman, a saint of the Anglican church, who dared stand up for what she believed in.

Author Bio

Elizabeth MacDonald is an editor and on-air personality at the FOX Business Network as well as on FOX News and has won more than a dozen journalism awards. She has covered business news for two-and-a-half decades, including at the Wall Street Journal and as an editor at Forbes magazine, where she created the World’s Most Powerful Women annual ranking. MacDonald has spent time working with Mother Teresa’s community in Calcutta, volunteering at an AIDS clinic in Harlem, and engaged in other ministries of outreach in the New York metropolitan area.

Editorial Reviews

"MacDonald’s prose is elegant and clear throughout in this engaging examination of the historical figure Margery Kempe." — Kirkus Reviews

"A work of scholarship and the imagination." — Bloomberg News

"A fascinating work. The trials, pilgrimages, weeping, and relentless uproar that surrounded Kempe are all very much brought to life by MacDonald, a gifted writer and story-teller. All very believable, and even inspiring. If you want a very different summer read, quick and engaging, about someone important, about something important, you should pick up Skirting Heresy." — National Review

"Elizabeth MacDonald has done us a genuine service in recovering and translating into a modern, page-turning narrative this very unusual story of a world which was rent by conflicts very like those we face today." — Aleteia

"Elizabeth MacDonald vividly brings to life both the world of medieval England and even more impressively, the heroic Margery Kempe, whose insights and courage speak to the modern world. This book will absorb and enlighten you." —Steve Forbes, editor, Forbes magazine

"Elizabeth MacDonald likely would hate being compared to a saint, but her writing here proves once again, her own inherent goodness. Few journalists reach such an understanding in life. Then again, few journalists come close to what my friend 'Lizzy' has done in life, and the subjects she tackles routinely in life.... Quite a book. Quite a subject. Quite an author." —Neil Cavuto, host of Cavuto and Your World With Neil Cavuto

"Elizabeth MacDonald is a gifted reporter — her ability to weave passion and truth together shines in Skirting Heresy. MacDonald’s account of Margery Kempe’s life is a compelling must-read story for religious readers and history buffs alike." — Greta Van Susteren, host of On the Record with Greta Van Susteren

"One of the best historical narratives I’ve read in a long time. Elizabeth MacDonald has skillfully delivered a gripping, bold new take on a captivating historical figure, Margery Kempe, a story that shows what was happening in Catholic England before Joan of Arc was executed." —Larry Kudlow, anchor, CNBC

"Elizabeth MacDonald’s story about Margery Kempe is an amazing historical perspective of a fascinating character that reads like a mystery you can’t put down, full of passion and intrigue. I loved learning more about Margery—a strong medieval woman of faith taking a stand for what she believed in against all odds."
Gretchen Carlson, host of The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson

"Elizabeth MacDonald portrays Kempe as a feminist before her time. Writing in a clear, no-nonsense style, MacDonald, a business reporter, weaves medieval history with material from Kempe's memoir, dictated in approximately 1436. This memoir, The Book of Margery Kempe, is considered the first English autobiography. That it was fashioned by a woman is another first. ...At this time, women were not allowed to preach the Gospel and couldn't travel without men. Yet Kempe managed to do both. She made several pilgrimages and traveled to the Holy Land. She chastised her neighbors' wrongdoings as well as that of town and church leaders. If she saw fault with the actions of mayors, priests and bishops, she let them know about it. She was never one to keep her thoughts to herself, and as seen in this entertaining biography, that was a good thing."—Diane Scharper, National Catholic Reporter

An engrossing and important revival of a timeless life story, of an heroic woman, Margery Kempe. MacDonald, like her subject, is a truth teller in the modern sense, ever eager to shine a light on what needs to be known."— RealClearMarkets

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  1. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    AN INSTANT CLASSIC, PULITZER PRIZE LITERATURE
    October 15, 2014
    MICHAEL ARCHER
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    An instant classic, I couldn't put this historical novel down or get it out of my head, I couldn't stop reading it. MacDonald has created Pulitzer Prize literature, it ranks right up there with the best of the literary classics. I read it in two days. Elizabeth MacDonald also ranks right up there with David McCullough or Hilary Mantel as one of the greatest writers of our time. The writing is just so elegant and gorgeous, it reads like a Cheever novel wrapped in a work of history wrapped in a suspense novel. I've read Margery Kempe books, but this is the very first time ever Margery's story is put in its proper historical context, as an historical narrative, what exactly was going on around Margery in Catholic England right before Joan of Arc was executed, its darkest and its most little known period in history. The history is perfect, the facts are correct, it's historically accurate. The latter chapters read just as hilarious as Chaucer's Canterbury tales! It's like an undiscovered Chaucer work. Elizabeth's original, imaginative dialogue writing of Margery's constant fights with fellow pilgrims and clergy, her writing about the bishops & clerics frustration and debates over what to do about Margery read just like the funniest movie scenes you ever saw. Just the thrilling, brilliantly written chapter alone on the heated, back and forth debate between Archbishop Thomas Arundel and his clerics on how to get rid of Lollard heretics, and the fact that MacDonald imagined how they finally shockingly came to their decision, a death penalty that became England's first burning at the stake in its history, is Pulitzer material. Read how MacDonald imagined a gorgeous, heart wrenching sermon for the first martyr of the Protestant Reformation, William Sawtrey, citing Dismas and Jesus on the cross, or Margery's husband's letter to her, and you'll cry, I cried. This is better than a Phillipa Gregory novel. And MacDonald's argument that 'Margery is the patron saint of gossip' is groundbreaking. Buy this book now, it's the best of the year. A book by one of the country's best and most gifted business journalists, who now ranks right up there as one of our greatest historical novelists. Kudos, Elizabeth, write more books!
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