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Bethany House Mark of the Cross

Philip, the illigitimate son of a powerful English lord, is taken in by his father but given no claim to an inheritance. Gareth, the legitimate son, is cruel and abusive to Philip. When their father dies of a heart attack, Gareth frames Philip for murder, and on the eve of his expected execution, Philip escapes to begin life as a fugitive and mercenary.
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3.4
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(9 Reviews) 9
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Customer Reviews for Mark of the Cross
Review 1 for Mark of the Cross
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Date:January 16, 2013
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MedievalGirl
Location:Winchester, UK
Age:18-24
Gender:female
As much as the novel tries to make the relationship between the protagonists Philip and Beatrice into an epic, and touching love story, to me, it just was not, especially in the early part of the novel . The heroine Beatrice came across, at least at first as a shallow, spoiled, vain, self-centred shrewish brat.
We are supposed to believe that her `love' Philip at the beginning of the story is heartfelt, deep and genuine , yet she was unable to even show Philip enough respect to accept that he simply did not want to have sex with her, and kept throwing herself at him regardless.
Thus her selfish desire to get what she wanted and have her own way with Philip, regardless of his own wishes and desires in this regard did not seem very much like `true love' at all.
The amorous fancies of a spoiled immature girl desperate to lose her virginity to a man she had just clapped eyes on, and who seemed to have hardly any self-control hardly seemed like the makings of an epic love story, or a romance that could last years even when the partners were separated.
Yet Beatrice's relationship with Phillip is supposed to form the basis of the entire novel, which does not seem to bode well when it appears so superficial at the beginning.
Even when she makes a commitment to chastity before marriage after Philip's horrid half brother Gareth tries get his wicked way with her, she quickly does a complete U-Turn and a few chapters later forgets her new found commitment to abstinence, and tries to have her way with Phillip once again before he leaves England in exile. Are we really supposed to believe that such a capricious character is capable of keeping any kind of vow?
Philip was a more well-rounded character, and the reasons for his anger, bitterness and sense of rejection seemed genuine enough. Yet his constant tendency to blame every ill-circumstance that befell him on God, rather than realizing it might be due to his own shortcomings or the actions of humans did not seem plausible, and just seemed to be a convenient excuse for Philip's religious skepticism.
Christianity/Morality: Readers should be warned of the sexual content of this novel, even though Philip and Beatrice never go all the way, and the author never describes anything in graphic detail. This book is not one for younger readers, because of these and other aspect.
There is also some violence, of which some can be a little graphic, and really Philips reluctance to kill hos brother (or allow anyone else to do it), arguably does not ring true, as his death was the only thing which could bring about his and Beatrice's happy ending.
Considering that she is meant to be a 'Christian' (though not really so at the beginning of the novel) Beatrice seems surprisingly lacking in moral scruples or self control, and was more than willing to do things she knew to be wrong where Phillip was concerned. Though he was weaker in faith than her, he seemed more reluctant to engage in sexual immorality, (partly due to the circumstances of his own birth) and seemed to have more of a conscience.
Beatrice's `repentance' for her adultery and incest with Philip towards the end of the novel seemed contrived and fake.All of a sudden we are told that she felt`repentant' when all she seemed to be sorry about was losing Philip and her lot in life, and claimed the product of her adultery was a `gift from God'.
History- There were a number of historical issues in this novel some of which are highlighted below.
There seems to be a clear attempt to draw parallels between the `Baron's War' of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester and his noble sympathizers against King Henry III and the American Revolutionary War with lots of talk of people fighting for their `freedom' `rights' and `liberty' against a `tyrannical' ruler to force him to adhere to the Magna Carta which is presenting as something akin to the `Bill of Rights'.
Those who supported the King are described as `royalists' which seems to imply that those who were on the opposing wanted to dispense with the monarchy altogether. Yet I found it very hard to believe that Medieval British people could even conceive their country not having a King.
In another place Beatrice demonstrates her staggeringly advanced knowledge of microbiology and bacterial infection by expecting physicians to use Modern medical techniques that could only arise from this. Yet a few passages later, she is back to binding up wounds with dirty rags or cloths, which amazingly did not become infected.
The ending seemed very neatly 'wrapped up' which I suppose was necessary to make it happy, and satisfying after all Philip and Beatrice had been through. Yet it was also one of the most historically implausible aspects of the work, as it seems rather unlikely that Phillip would have even been legally allowed the woman who had been his half brother's wife, hence his own sister in law, without a dispensation from the Pope. Thus it all seemed a little too easy.
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Review 2 for Mark of the Cross
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Date:November 5, 2009
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4kidds
It was an interesting story especially if you like that time period but the sensualality and adultery is not what I want or expect in a Christian novel. This one won't go into our church library nor would I recommend it.
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Review 3 for Mark of the Cross
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Date:April 13, 2009
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Becca
it was an okay book there was some swearing in it which is against God so i really did not like it
+1point
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Review 4 for Mark of the Cross
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:March 28, 2009
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Sherrel Hailstone
It is a powerful and moving book. The look into life in the middle ages is awesome. I actually had read it before, but enjoyed it more the second time around.
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Review 5 for Mark of the Cross
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:March 16, 2009
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susie
I really enjoyed Mark of the Cross. This is a recommened read. I to agree that the end was rushed. I would of like to here more of what happened to Phillip and Beatrice. Yes there was an epiloge but there should have been much more happiness for them as a family. I think this needs a book 2. Leaves much to the imagination.
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Review 6 for Mark of the Cross
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:November 22, 2007
Wow. I didn't think anything could beat Daughters of Fortune, but this one's pretty close! The Medieval setting won points with me as soon as I read the blurb, and I found myself commiserating with Philip very often. The plot was wonderfully woven, with plenty of suspense and even one of those wonderful romantic rescues, and I have to admit I enjoyed seeing Gareth get his at the end. Beatrice was a wonderful character who did a lot of maturing in the novel's course and who I came to like pretty well. However, the intensity of her desire for premarital sexual relations really disturbed me, especially considering how great Philip is. I found myself telling Bea, "come on, cut the guy some slack--he's a prince compared to who you're stuck with!" But compared to the rest of the book, this is a minor flaw that shouldn't stop most people from picking it up. Great to see you back in the game and on my shelf, Judith!
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Review 7 for Mark of the Cross
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:July 4, 2006
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Jason
A good read and a decent historical novel with a good plot. But it had some faults. The ending was one. It was rushed and happened way to easily. The author did not elevate that climatic ending at all. I didn't have time to really grasp the ideas of redemption in the story. The main characters had too many faults for me to really root for them, whether or not, they redeemed themselves. The plot was great but writing itself left me wishing for more of "Count of Monte Cristo" story. Still a good book worth reading. But forgettable.
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Review 8 for Mark of the Cross
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:May 28, 2006
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ANGELA
I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. IT WAS SO GOOD.JUDITH PELLA DID AN AWESOME JOB WITH THE HISTORY AND THE ROMANTIC DRAMA.
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Review 9 for Mark of the Cross
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:January 27, 2006
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Harriet Klausner
In the thirteenth century in England Lord Hawken provides protection, schooling and employment to his illegitimate son, Philip de Tollard, but never recognizes his offspring as officially his; thus the lad is filled with anger at the world. Hawkens other son the rightful heir Gareth is a nasty person especially towards the stepbrother whom he scorns and loathes as beneath him. When their father suddenly dies, Gareth accuses Philip of killing their sire; Philip is fortunate to escape with his life.<P>Beatrice Marlowe loves her long time friend Philip, who has always been nice to her in spite of his loathing of just about everyone else. When Gareth, who she hates for his haughty abuse of others, demands she accept his offer or his wrath, she worries about her beloved and acquiesces while praying to God for Philips safety. Meanwhile, angry at God and his late dad for his plight, Philip filled with rage plans to avenge all that Gareth has done to him especially his mistreatment of his dear Beatrice. To succeed might cost him his already damaged soul; to fail might cost him his beloved.<P>Though Gareth is so nasty he seems more a caricature of evil than an adversary, MARK OF THE CROSS is a fabulous medieval inspirational romance starring two star-crossed wannabe lovers. Beatrice, in spite of her woes, remains a firm believer in the Lord while Philip no longer trusts God. Thus the strong story line centers on Philips necessity to find redemption though he feels he does not need to if he is to rescue the woman he loves from his most despicable foe. Medieval fans will appreciate Philips trials and tribulations as he bears the MARK OF THE CROSS.<P>Harriet Klausner
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