Thursday, March 13, 2014

G284 Book Review of Pilgrim Footprints on the Sands of Time by Sylvia Nilsen

Name of Book: Pilgrim Footprints on the Sands of Time

Author: Sylvia Nilsen

ISBN: 978-2-917183-34-2

Publisher: LightEye

Type of book: England, pilgrimage, 1170, 1176-1180s, soul mates, love, making up for sins, France, Spain, crossing the mountains, Saints, doctor, herbs, medicine, advancements

Year it was published: 2012


A few months after Richard FitzUrse and his fellow knights murder Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, Lord Robert and Lady FitzUrse are instructed by King Henry to make a penitential pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint James the Greater in Spain in order to earn redemption for his disgraced family. William Beaumont has made a promise to his dead mother and younger sister to go on a pilgrimage to save their souls. William is secretly in love with Alicia Bearham, niece of Lord Robert. He is overjoyed when he is asked to accompany the family and their servants on their three-month pilgrimage. They face many adversities, dangers, and an attempted murder on the long and hazardous journey across England, France and Spain. Who is trying Sir Robert and Alicia? What does the gypsy woman they meet in Paris mean when she predicts that Alicia and William are destined to be soul mates, but only when the eleventh flaming star returns to the skies and the water carrier rises over the horizon? One fateful night, a shocking event changes their lives forever.


The characters are well drawn and can really climb into one's heart. There's nothing really dramatic about them and instead I understood and sympathized with them. William is talented when it comes to medicine and is also best described as chivalrous towards Alicia or others. In certain areas he is not above reproach and strikes me as realistic, especially when it comes to some dirty jokes. He is also loyal and will do whatever he can for those he cares about and is also very dutiful. I think he tries hard not to be class conscious, but at the same time he feels inadequate when it comes to the divide between him and Alicia. Alicia is brave, open-minded and goes after what she wants, although in the end she has to sacrifice a lot for her love, just like William. Other characters did include Father Martel who is William's spiritual advisor and wants the best he can for him and so forth.


One way or another soul mates will unite.


Its written in third person narrative completely from William's point of view. The setting and the atmosphere are very strong and it shows that the author has really done her research because there are various herb remedies for different ailments. I also enjoyed the romantic aspect of the book, and liked that Alicia made the first moves rather than the guy himself. I also liked the travels and descriptions of places that were visited in 12th century as well as enhancements that were new such as glass and so forth, although I felt that the epilogue wasn't very clear in tying up some loose ends.

Author Information:

Sylvia Nilsen, well known in the Camino world for her ‘amaWalker blog’ is a South African freelance writer who has been published in numerous local and international publications.

She has worked as a research agent and editor for a UK-based travel guide publisher and produced several African city and country guides.

Sylvia has walked over 5,000 km of pilgrimage trails in Europe including Paris to Spain, the Camino Frances from St Jean Pied de Port and Roncesvalles to Santiago, from Lourdes to Pamplona, el Ferrol to Santiago, Santiago to Finisterre and from Switzerland to Rome on the Via Francigena. She also walked from Durban to Cape Town as part of the ‘Breaking Free’ team in aid of abused women and children. Sylvia has served as a volunteer hospitalero in Spain and is a Spanish accredited hospitalero trainer having trained over 40 people to serve as volunteers in Spain. She was the Regional Co-ordinator for the Confraternity of St James in South Africa from 2003 to 2010.

In 2009 she started amaWalkers Camino (Pty) Ltd and takes small groups of pilgrims on three weeks walks of the Camino Frances in Spain.

For more information on Sylvia Nilsen please visit her website.  You can also find her on Facebook.


I have to say that I greatly enjoyed the writing, William's character as well as the journey that was made. I only wish that the chapters would have been more broken up. I'm a history major, and I do admit that I felt certain things weren't, well, 12th century, one being the class divide. I somehow doubt that a girl from an upper class would be allowed to be with a boy who comes from a village, or that her guardians will allow her to be with that type of man. William is actually an excellent, well-drawn and sympathetic character who I really loved and I enjoyed seeing him with Alicia, but I just mean class-wise. I think up until the ending the author has done a good job in keeping me with the characters as well as the medieval atmosphere and learning new things about herbs or how the wounds and so forth were taken care of. I would guess towards the end, or the last chapter, the book sounded a bit modern for me. Other than that, I loved reading the book and getting lost in the setting and different facts. The book also strikes me as sort of a leisurely read rather than one filled with tension and so forth. Its calm and safe in other words and really knows how to satisfy my historical cravings.

This for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, February 24
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection
Tuesday, February 25
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Thursday, February 27
Spotlight & Giveaway at Kinx’s Book Nook
Friday, February 28
Guest Post at A Bookish Libraria
Monday, March 3
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Guest Post at Mina’s Bookshelf
Tuesday, March 4
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Wednesday, March 5
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Thursday, March 6
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Friday, March 7
Review at Reading the Ages
Monday, March 10
Review & Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Tuesday, March 11
Review at The Most Happy Reader
Wednesday, March 12
Review at Staircase Wit
Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Thursday, March 13
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Friday, March 14
Interview at Layered Pages
Monday, March 17
Review at Book Nerd
Tuesday, March 18
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, March 19
Guest Post at Kelsey’s Book Corner
Thursday, March 20
Review at From L.A. to LA

Friday, March 21
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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