Gabriel and the Hour Book by Evaleen Stein takes place during the time when monks copied and illuminated manuscripts.
Manuscript books were copies of the Bible … written out by hand. Persons called copyists made a business of drawing or writing manuscript books. Most of the copyists were monks. who lived in monasteries, where often there was a room set apart for their work, called the writing room. Copying was slow work. To copy a book like the Bible took all of a year, and when this was done well it took two or three years.
Gabriel is a peasant who lives near Normandy and who visits the abbey every day to grind and mix the colors for the monks who live there. He befriends one particular monk, the best illustrator in the abbey — a friendship that greatly benefits them both.
Working with the best and being industrious, Gabriel ends up becoming an illustrator in his own right. Meanwhile, his work captures the attention of someone who holds the fate of Gabriel’s family. Of course, all turns out well — Gabriel and his family enjoy a very special Christmas and he … well, you’ll have to read to the end.
Gabriel and the Hour Book is a captivating story that reveals the lengths to which those who illuminated manuscripts went to achieve the desired effect. It is an enjoyable read that captures this time in history in a living way. Kings and castles, abbeys and monks, troubles and solutions. Great read — and free!