Asking the question is somehow answering it in a positive manner. Let me illustrate it.
Yesterday I went to visit a very old abbey located in Landévennec, in western Brittany. Believe it or not, my visit was polluted by the book by Ken Follett , World without end, I had just finished reading !
I knew damn well that abbey was built a long time before the fictional priory of Kingsbridge but to my uttermost surprise, Follett’s characters followed me all along my visit 😉
Let’s start in the museum where a reliquary of St Guénolé reminded me of the reliquary of St Adolphus in Kingsbridge Priory, part of what is called church, abbey or priory treasure.
The real abbey “in the flesh”, if I may say so, built and rebuilt over centuries since the 6th century rang a bell and looking at the models , even if I knew they were different from Kingsbridge priory as my imagination pictured them, I couldn’t help relating them to Ken Follett’s fictional descriptions which are detailed and well-researched and documented; I ended up having a good look at the plans, just like one the main characters, Merthin, Master carpenter and architect, would have done in the 14th century 😉
9th / 10th century real abbey . Kingsbridge Priory was supposedly built about that same period. My, my , my !!!
Going further on in the museum, I stopped in front of a skull and straight away I thought of Caris, wool trader, nun, prioress and better than any educated physician of the time, one of the main protagoniss in Follett’s book. She would have been pleased to study it in her self-made laboratory next to the hospital she had ordered to be built.
That wasn’t the end!
I came across a model monk dressed in winter clothes and right away the dreadful Priors Anthony and Philemon appeared 😉
See how a book can have a powerful impact on a reader as sensitive as I am!!! 😉
Mind you, despite the ghost characters who followed me during my visit to the real old abbey, I enjoyed the visit very much. I even looked thoroughly at the abbey monastic garden, wanting to find some madder ( garance), a plant which played a major part during the healing years which followed the terrible plague which swept across England and Europe in the 14th century 😦 Ken Follett’s historical consultants have done a beautiful job there, nothing has been left aside, from the agony of the sick people to the crazy flagellants.
A spicy visit to an old abbey for a very impressionnable reader indeed, thanks to Ken Follett’s art of story telling 😉
Real life was waiting for me at the end of the visit and my wild imagination couldn’t beat the beauty of the local hydrangeas 🙂 Nature put a stronger spell on me ! 😉