First of all, I'm glad you liked The Glimpses of the Moon, Julia. I was hoping you would. I thought it was good because every character seemed so realistic to me. And there was such a wide array of characters--like you said--to display the difference of the eat, drink and be merry crowd to the more worthwhile life. I also like the descriptions of marriage in it, and how the author made the point that yes, in a marriage you can mess it all up, but if you really love someone you can forgive and move on again. Also I love that no one character was perfect, all had flaws, albeit very different flaws. Really, I just love Edith Wharton for that--she captures the multitude of humanity in her characters with all their many facets too. Her characters are never one-dimensional. So good.
Anyway, I did read The Bronze Bow, although I'm still in the middle of Hamlet. I really don't have much to say on it, but I did really like it. I never realized it was by the same author as The Witch of Blackbird pond before.
First of all, what I thought about most after reading it was what happened next? When Christ was crucified would Daniel stay converted, or would he lose faith? Was Joel ever converted? Would Malthrace's father ever allow her to marry Daniel? What happened with the Roman soldier and Leah? Obviously, from my many questions, the author did an excellent job of sucking me in and ending it just right, since neatly tied up books bother me--too unrealistic.
Secondly, I agree with Andrea that mostly the book was about Daniel growing up--losing his idealism that hallmarks youth and gaining wisdom in the process. Joel in this sense bothered me, he seemed as smart as kid as Daniel, but after his capture and escape, he did not seem to grow up at all. That was the only part that didn't ring true to me. Why would he still wish to join Rosh, if Rosh had refused to help him? Surely Daniel would have explained what happened. I guess as a secondary character the author just conveniently whisked him off to Jerusalem to clear the way for the end of the story. However, she could have just as easily had him sneak off to tell Daniel that he had made the choice to go to Jerusalem and wanted to see him one last time. Anyway, as you can tell that bothered me a bit. Funny how such little things drag at a story.
My favorite description that I thought the author captured superbly was how Daniel felt when he went back to join the thieves for the second to the last time. He saw their unconcern for him, he knew the other side of their robberies--the people who were losing out. He saw their hypocrisy, and finally recognized Rosh for what he was. While in less extreme situations, I think that is one of the main things any person learns as they grow up, that things are never the same when you go back. No matter how much you wish for your friends or your family to remain unchanged, whenever you leave--or even as you learn--they (or you) won't ever have the same feeling as they had when you were last amongst them.
I also liked how the author had the character of the Roman soldier who liked Leah. Through that one random soldier and the one line from Leah who said he was homesick, the whole of the Roman army gained humanity. Without that, as a reader, you might never really have sympathy for them or truly be able to apply (in context of understanding the book) the teaching of Christ to love your enemies. It was brilliant.
Well, those were my thoughts, brief as they were. Someday I'll finish Hamlet and post about it. Chao.