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For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy on My Little Pain cover art

For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy on My Little Pain

By: Victoria MacKenzie
Narrated by: Charlie Norfolk, Stephanie Racine
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Summary

An astounding debut, both epic and intimate, about grief, trauma, revelation, and the hidden lives of women - by a major new talent

In the year of 1413, two women meet for the first time in the city of Norwich.

Margery has left her fourteen children and husband behind to make her journey. Her visions of Christ – which have long alienated her from her family and neighbours, and incurred her husband’s abuse – have placed her in danger with the men of the Church, who have begun to hound her as a heretic.

Julian, an anchoress, has not left Norwich, nor the cell to which she has been confined, for twenty-­three years. She has told no one of her own visions – and knows that time is running out for her to do so.

The two women have stories to tell one another. Stories about girlhood, motherhood, sickness, loss, doubt and belief; revelations more the powerful than the world is ready to hear. Their meeting will change everything.

Sensual, vivid and humane, For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy on My Little Pain cracks history open to reveal the lives of two extraordinary women.

©2023 Victoria MacKenzie (P)2023 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Critic reviews

"This is the best first novel I've read in years. It is short, yet so full and so vivid; it is amazing." (Roddy Doyle, author of Love)

"Moving and unexpected, Mackenzie writes with great clarity and tenderness... I tore through this." (Julia Armfield, author of Our Wives Under the Sea)

"For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy on My Little Pain is a novel of rare brightness and clarity, concise and yet capacious: it illuminates the meeting of two extraordinary women like a shaft of sunlight." (Imogen Hermes Gowar, author of Women's Prize-shortlisted The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock)

What listeners say about For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy on My Little Pain

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Beautiful

This is a lovely short book, so much depth and beautifully portrayed. A deceptively simple and delicate, gentle approach to its fascinating, esoteric and in some ways quite brutal subject matter. The two women really came alive to me. It has really stayed with me since I listened to it a few weeks ago, and I will certainly listen again.

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  • Overall
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Beautifully captures life for medieval women

This book is fantastic. Brings the period to life. Truly gives these women a voice. Takes the turmoil of faith/spiritual life so seriously. So so much to get from it. Loved it.

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Wonderfully written and read

A beautifully evocative imagining of the lives of two medieval women whose books are some of the most important pieces of medieval literature we have. Delicately performed, these intersecting stories centre female experience so precisely, lifting these lives from their fourteenth century beginnings into our present with empathy and connection. So much reflection comes as a result - on love, on hope, on the journey of life. I loved this so much.

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Loved it!

These two ladies must surely be the two most important Medieval women. Most enlightening, compelling & comforting

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    3 out of 5 stars

Lovely audiobook

Both the readers give excellent performances and while the book itself has moments of lovely writing, I felt it ended quite suddenly and without having much of a point. Having read both Margery and Julien's books themselves, I felt the parallels between them that the author is highlighting were already evident, and I couldn't quite work out why the author felt compelled to write this book, or what she was trying to say in putting their stories together.

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  • KH
  • 03-02-23

This is a wonderful book!

There is not a wasted word in this book, it is beautifully written with lovely touches of humour and images to remember and make you think. The sights and sounds of medieval life are skilfully evoked as clearly as the internal lives of these women and as you read, you can't wait to hear more of their story. Please do not be put off by the religious aspect or medieval setting, this is a book that speaks of women's experiences throughout time.

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Enthralling story of two important medieval women

Brings these two very different women to life and in so doing grounds the theological points it contains in a (imagined) lived reality that rings true today

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Two stories- theology and literature

I’m glad a book like this, celebrating two very significant women English authors has been published. It might be a niche topic but the two stories are well interwoven and the two voices of the readers, really add to the characters portrayed. I recommend it.

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Stunning

At first I was unsure if this was something I would enjoy. But soon two voices became one. A duet of voice and spirit.
Stunning.
Wonderfully read, engaging throughout, and I more spiritually intelligent as a result. Thank you.

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Sincerity

Very interesting insight into Medieval women's lives and the position of religion in society, I enjoyed it.

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