The Beatryce Prophecy

the beatryce prophesy book

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Book Review

A young girl named Beatryce is found one morning sleeping in a goat’s pen. The goat, Answelica, is known for its angry, monk-tormenting ways, but it adores this small ordinary child. The monk who finds Beatryce, however, soon comes to believe that she is no ordinary girl at all. In fact, she may be the very special girl written about in prophesy.

Plot Summary

When gentle Brother Edik first lays eye on Beatryce—and I say eye because one of his eyes always stays steady and true while the other rolls around in his head as if looking for something it cannot find—he thinks that she is just an ordinary girl. She’s asleep, covered in dirt and a little blood, and lying in the goat pen next to Answelica the goat.

Now, that incredible fact alone should have alerted Brother Edik to the fact that Beatryce was far from ordinary. For Answelica is perhaps the most ferocious and foul goat ever to haunt the realm. This beast long ago made it her quest in life to head-butt and viciously bite anyone who dares venture near. But here was a young girl cuddled next to the ill-tempered thing, holding its ear. And when Beatryce wakes and sits up, the goat simply looks upon her adoringly. Beatryce, for her part, has no memory of how she came to be in a goat pen belonging to the monkish Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. She has no knowledge of what a Chronicle even is. Nor does she remember where she came from. She remembers only her name and the fact that she can read and write.

If nothing else, her knowledge of reading and writing—something that none but royal males and monks are permitted to do—pushes Brother Edik to a realization. He suddenly understands that Beatryce could well be the girl mentioned in prophecy in their Chronicles of Sorrowing—the book that the monks work on both day and night. The Chronicles tell the story of what has happened and of things that might yet happen. And one might-yet-happen prophecy tells of a girl child who will come one day and “unseat a king.”

It’s that last bit that’s the problem. For the king of the realm knows of this prophecy, too. And he has grown tired of waiting for her prophesied arrival, sending vicious soldiers searching for her instead. That could be a very big problem for anyone in the way. So, the other monks of the Order want the girl gone.

How could this sweet young girl be the cause of so much uproar? Brother Edik wonders. She has no power, no strength, no money, no army. How could she possibly upend a kingdom and unseat a monarch? She has only her sweet, gentle kindness and the protection of a hard-headed, sharp-toothed goat. But no matter: Beatryce is sent away on her own.

She heads off, forced to hide her reading and writing talents. Forced to shave her head to hide her femininity. Forced to walk in a harrowing world toward those who wish her harm. But there is one thing that Beatryce knows for sure, without any need for force or compulsion:

We shall all, in the end, be led to where we belong. We shall all, in the end, find our way home.

She wrote those words on a bit of parchment, and they are what she believes. And that’s exactly what she will, somehow, do.

Christian Beliefs

This is the story of a young girl who is prophesied to come during a time of conflict in the world to change the surrounding kingdom, not through war and bloodshed, but through love. That’s not biblical, of course, but with the right tip of the head one could see story parallels here to the biblical prophecy of a savior named Jesus.

Other Belief Systems

Author DiCamillo uses her tale to point out that the things of prophecy (in this case from a book called the Chronicles of Sorrows) are far less important than the application of love, and the power to love and be loved.

What appears to be an angel of death (given its flapping black feathers and its a foul odor) visits a dying man.

Authority Roles

Beatryce gains the help of three friends: the gentle Brother Edik, a revenge-focused boy named Jack, and Cannoc, an elderly former king who once walked away from his throne. (Along with, of course, the ever-protective Answelica.)  These unlikely friends give freely of themselves, come to love one another, and they all play a vital role in Beatryce’s story. Their friendship illustrates that love and kindness cross all barriers and separations. Jack Dory, as a young boy, is also given aid, and then adopted, by an older woman after losing his family.

The kingdom’s current king, his counselor and the Chronicle of Sorrows monks, on the other hand, are all people tied up in their own fear, self-importance and/or power. They don’t act wisely. And at least some of them pay a price for those choices.

Profanity & Violence

No alcohol or drug use, and no foul language.

The story does tell of parents that are badly abused. We learn much more of Beatryce’s forgotten history, and we find out that her mother was kidnapped and imprisoned by evil men. When Beatryce is held captive later in the story, she hears a woman weeping in another cell before learning that it’s her missing mother.

Jack Dory’s parents are both killed. As a child, Jack staggers out of the woods and tells a stranger about a man (with a knife held between his teeth) who threatened his family. Jack’s mom sends Jack running for help and he hears her cry out in pain as he runs away.

A dying man asks Beatryce to write down his confession of wrong-doing. And as he growls the foul tale out, telling of his lack of regret for killing men but regretting having killed children. Beatryce then realizes that he is the man who killed her brothers and left her wounded and hiding beneath their bodies. (The scene she tells isn’t graphic.) Jack Dory eventually ends up with the man’s sharp sword and learns how to use it. (But never hurts anyone with it.)

Sexual Content

None.

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for other books at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Why did Beatryce want to go see the king? What did she hope to accomplish? Would you have made that same choice if you were her?

Things didn’t turn out exactly the way she planned. Why do you think author Kate DiCamillo had the story play out the way it did? Was there a message she was trying to give us? If prophesies don’t change the world, what does?

What do you think is Beatryce’s greatest strength and how did she use it? At the end of the book, the author says that Beatryce believed in love and stories and the change they can bring. What did she mean by that? How can stories effect or change things? Take a look at Psalms 78: 3-4. How do you think that verse applies to the idea of stories and how they impact us?

What do you think this story is saying about friendship and family? What is it saying about people who take the role of a leader?

What’s your favorite part of this book?

Additional Comments

This is an almost poetic story, told in the style of a fairy tale. As such, it draws in readers who enjoy that type of story with a gentle, easy charm. The Beatryce Chronicles talks of joy, hope and goodness in a sometimes dark world, along with the healing power of love.

You can request a review of a title you can’t find at [email protected].

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not necessarily their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book’s review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

 Review by Bob Hoose

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