The Pilgrim Glass by Julie K. Rose was featured in The Fussy Librarian recently. I was drawn to the book because of its cover and its connection to church history, France and stained glass. A mysterious stained glass window is discovered in a church in Vezelay, France and three individuals are brought together by its discovery.
I really struggled with this novel. It held so much potential and in the end, I was disappointed. Throughout the novel, I felt not enough information was given about the stained glass, its creator and the three main characters. I thought, by the time the novel wrapped up, the creator of the stained glass would be revealed and she would have some connection to two of the three characters, Dubay and Meredith, as their family roots were in the area. This connection would explain their link to the Church and the reason Meredith was “possessed” by the glass’s creator. Each of the main characters, Jonas, Meredith and Dubay, had pasts that were haunting them and those pasts had led them to the Church and the piece of glass. Once again, not enough information was given about their psychological hang ups. When their pasts were revealed it was too late in the story to really drive the plot forward and really make me care about how it all turned out.
The other part of the novel that lead to my disappointment was the constant need for the characters to speak in French with no explanation, either a straight up translation, or contextual framing to lead me to understand, at least in part, what was being said. I don’t believe I missed any key plot points, but this was an endless frustration for me especially when Jonas went on a bender (Chapter 19) and sits down to have a bottle of wine with a local gentleman who speaks no English. I can’t help but wonder if the gentleman shared some key piece of wisdom with Jonas that was completely missed, both by me and Jonas, because neither of us comprehend much French. The same things happens with Latin and the technical terms used when talking about the actual stained glass.
Overall, there were just too many plot issues, too much was not revealed/connected in the end, and a language barrier drove me to distraction. I had hoped that everything would be tied together, but was left disappointed. This paired with eBook formatting issues, The Pilgrim Glass by Julie K. Rose gets a thumbs down.