Updated: Sep 16, 2021
ANTONY B. KOLENC
Age Range: 11/12 and up
A year after Xan lost everything from his old life and began his new one, he feels that he finally fits in and that Hardwood Abbey is his new home and the people in it, his new family. He can't imagine a different life for himself until he finds out that his family still has debts that he now needs to pay off, which means Xan has to either start his life over again as a serf (a servant) or ask for help from his unknown rich uncle living in Lincoln. Not willing to lose his freedom, Xan decides to travel to Lincoln in search of his uncle, but he must make the journey with the bandit who destroyed his village. In Lincoln, Xan learns that his uncle is in a lot of trouble and can't pay for him to be free. To distract himself from his uncle's misfortune and forgive a murderer, Xan decides to solve a ghost's mystery in a Cathedral. With the help of his friends, Xan follows the clues that lead him to danger so great that he might not be able to get out of it alive.
Thank you so much Loyola Press for sending me a complimentary copy of The Haunted Cathedral! I was happy to read and receive this book. My review of this book is entirely my own. The Haunted Cathedral is the second book in the Hardwood Mysteries series, with plenty of action, adventure, and mystery. Xan's story continues as he travels to Lincoln looking for a long-lost uncle who might be able to help him. Instead, Xan finds more disappointment and is more confused and mad than ever. On top of all that, Brother Andrew tries to get Xan to forgive Carlo, the bandit who took away Xan's old life. There is so much going on in Xan's life that I felt terrible for him and probably would have acted in the same way he had. His character felt very realistic with all of his struggles and conflicts that I could see how he was having a hard time forgiving.
The Haunted Cathedral was so exciting that I just kept reading and didn't put it down until I finished the whole story! The storyline was creative and entertaining, but I do not know how much I liked some new characters. I did not love the second book as much as the first, but I think the way the story played out was just how it should have been. I once again really liked Xan, especially now that we get to see more of his struggles, but my other favorite character, Lucy, was not in the book as much as I would have liked. But the parts that she was in the book, made me like her even more than before. She was always thinking of a way to help Xan, and both she and Xan were open to and were discerning religious life. So many people today don't even consider being a priest or nun and think that way of life is boring and constricting, but it is not, and you can see that in this book. The Haunted Cathedral is an outstanding Catholic book for anyone who loves a good mystery!
Things to Mention: A person is run over by a wagon and dies; Xans and his friends' lives are threatened. There is some other minor violence.
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More books in The Hardwood Mysteries:
More books by Antony B. Kolenc:
Catholic Teen Books Anthologies Series:
Treasures: Visible & Invisible (he was apart of this book in the series)
If you have read The Haunted Cathedral, let me know in the comments below. I'd love to hear your thoughts! Do you have a book you want to be reviewed? Let me know, and I'll add it to my list! Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you're here.