A Hug For The Apostle
On Foot from Chartres to Santiago de Compostela


522 pages

320+ illustrations

ISBN: 978-1-989243-01-5

$39.95 CAN + $20 shipping cost

2019

*To honour France + Spain two book cover options will be available (limited quantity).

HAVE YOU WALKED THE WAY OF ST JAMES? Have relatives or friends done so? Do you hope to travel it one day? Would you like to experience it, at least vicariously? This is your ticket. In spring 1986, Laurie Dennett walked the longest route of the Way of St James, or Camino de Santiago. She headed south from Chartres Cathedral, through the Loire Valley, historic Tours, Poitiers, Saintes, Bordeaux, and the Landes to the Pyrenees, crossing via Roncesvalles to Spanish Navarra. Then came La Rioja, the meseta of Castilla y León, Celtic Galicia, and finally Santiago de Compostela.
Her lively, 1987 account became noted for its direct style, cultural and historical insights, and depiction of the hospitality, kindnesses, and simple pleasures of life on the Camino. Laurie has remained active with the Way of St James, while pilgrim numbers grew exponentially and new modes of communication transformed travel.
An updated, lightly revised, lavishly illustrated version seems very à propos today. Inspired by the book, publisher John Parry and designer Anne Vellone have savoured, through Laurie’s account, the Camino’s joys, adventures, happenstances, and abundant treasures. Even if you never walk the route (and you’ll be tempted!), these evocative words and images will take you there.

WORDS INDEED IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE a revised, lavishly illustrated version of Laurie Dennett’s long-out-of-print A Hug for the Apostle: On Foot from Chartres to Santiago de Compostela (1987). Share with the author her ten-week pilgrimage, through April showers in France and sun and heat in Spain: chance encounters, exquisite buildings, local cuisine, and requests to “hug the apostle,” whose silver statue awaits in Santiago. Dr Zbigniew Izydorczyk, Professor of Medieval Literature, University of Winnipeg, comments, “The book’s graceful, elegant prose is so engrossing that it transports the reader into the timeless present of el Camino. A breathtaking read to savour slowly.” Rev. Spencer Reece, Canon to the Ordinary of the Episcopal Church in Spain and a distinguished poet, observes: “A French monk named Aimery Picaud in the early twelfth century compiled a ‘pilgrim’s guide’ for the Camino de Santiago … Europe’s first travel book. Put Dennett’s book next to it.”

LAURIE DENNETT, daughter of Toronto broadcaster Jack Dennett and Norma Moritz, grew up in Agincourt, Ontario; studied history at the University of Toronto, McMaster in Hamilton, and St Andrews, Scotland; and became an independent business historian in the City of London. A Hug for the Apostle is her evocative, touching 1987 memoir of her solo pilgrimage for MS from Chartres to Santiago de Compostela. Later pilgrimages for MS took her from London to Rome (1989) and Canterbury to Jerusalem (1992); her Camino activities have included chairing (1995—2003) Britain’s Confraternity of Saint James. She lives near O Cebreiro in Galicia, host of a ‘Quiet Garden,’ based on the Chartres Cathedral labyrinth. Her most recent book was An American Princess: The Remarkable Life of Marguerite Chapin Caetani (McGill-Queen’s, 2016).

‘And when you have done it — it changes your life. It’s strange, but when you get there, you think, ‘What shall I do, now thats it’s over?’ and then you realize that the road to Compostela is a beginning, not an end.’

ODILE DERN-LUTARD

‘The road to Santiago, one of the great roads of Europe and of the world for more than a millennium, links nations in ways that no bureaucracy ever can. It exists for and because of a spiritual dimension to human life that transcends the barriers of language and creed. It holds out a personal goal to all. In a troubled world, it remains a symbol of international goodwill and a testament to the survival of the values that foster it.’

From the Author’s notebook, following a conference on the Camino, Cologne, March 1987