The Ramsay Scallop
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The Ramsay Scallop

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  563 ratings  ·  51 reviews

The year is 1299. Fourteen year-old Elenor reluctanly awaits the return of her betrothed — a man she hardly knows — from the Crusade. Thomas, broken and disillusioned from years of fighting, finds the very idea of marriage and lordship overwhelming. So When the village priest sends them on religious pilgrimage before the marriage, both are relieved. The journey means a pos

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Hardcover, 310 pages
Published April 1st 1994 by Orchard Books (NY) (first published 1994)
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Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann SandellCatherine, Called Birdy by Karen CushmanDaughter of the Forest by Juliet MarillierHush by Donna Jo NapoliThe Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman
YA Medieval historical fiction
52nd out of 173 books — 113 voters
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Old-School Teen Historical Romance
88th out of 183 books — 62 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 970)
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booklady
Having visited the Holy City Santiago de Compostela in 2007, it’s fun for me to imagine what it must be like to do actually do the pilgrimage, known as ‘the Way’ or Camino —even better what it was like for past pilgrims. The Ramsay Scallop is a young adult novel set during the later years of the Crusades (1299) and tells the story of a reluctant couple sent on religious pilgrimage to atone for the sins of their village, most notably those incurred by disillusioned and despairing crusaders recent...more
Linda
I decided to reread one of my favorite "journey" books this past week. THE RAMSAY SCALLOP by Frances Temple is set in the year 1300 AD. It follows young Lady Elenor and Thomas, her betrothed, as they make the pilgrimage to Santiago. I love how the author evokes Elenor in the opening lines, clutching her too-long cloak around her, wrapping her fingers in its edges to keep them warm, and standing on tiptoe in her borrowed shoes to catch a glimpse of a beggar musician. Thomas has been off fighting...more
Ariana
I wish that they made more books like The Ramsay Scallop. This book personalizes the Walk of St. James while taking you through it. Nora is a sweet character, and her story is marvelous. I do recommend this book for spiritual reasons, but even if that doesn't interest you the spiritual side of it is not overbearing and the story and history are very well done.
Gale
YOU'VE COME A LONG MEDIEVAL WAY, BABY!

The book's title refers to the Scallop which may be worn by pilgrims who have completed their journey to the cathedral of St. James of Campostella in Spain--a symbol of their successful spiritual (and obviously physical) achievement.

THE RAMSAY SCALLOP provides an excellent introduction to medieval history and mentality, in both sacred and secular areas. Scattered throughout the chaste love story we uncover segments of the phenonmenon called Pilgrimage--whic...more
Kellyn
This is Susan's review. I included it because I also read this and I want to remember to recommend this.

Grades 6-8
AR 5.6

Fourteen-year-old Elinor, an orphan, is promised to Sir Thomas hen he returns from the Crusades. She fears death in childbirth, as it came to her mother, but she can’t hope Thomas will die in battle, because then his mean father will marry her. Despite Elinor’s hopes that Thomas will stay away a long time, he returns. Father Gregory sees that the soldiers who return with Thomas...more
Cindy
I enjoyed the Medieval setting and look into this time period's mind set. Since the two main characters have an arranged engagement they are not too keen on, it is enjoyable to come along on their religious pilgrimage where she grows up a bit and he begins to thaw. You do have to read between the lines a bit to see it unfold. Interesting supporting characters come along that are also fodder for your imagination as the author is just descriptive enough. It may bore some readers as the story is gr...more
Aliyah
Elenor who later becomes known as Nora, is betrothed to Thomas, a boy before he left for the crusades, but later comes back and is a man. They disliked eachother since childhood, but now that they are older they have to do their duty and be married. But the kind Father of the church decided that since Elenor was still of a young age, and too small to yet have children, he comes up with a plan of having the betrothed to make a pilgrimage. And hopefully find a liking in one another. As the two mak...more
Amy
I was *really* looking forward to this book, yet it turned out to be nothing like I expected. 14-year-old Eleanor is betrothed to Thomas, aparently somewhere in his 20s, who is currently away on the Crusades. She hopes he will never come home, and when he does, dreads the day they will be wed. For his part, Thomas refers to her as "the Brat" and has no interest in matrimony, it is the 1300's.
The village priest decides to send this reluctant pair on a journey to far away Spain, to the shrine of S...more
Lindi
A kind of Canterbury Tales for young readers, The Ramsay Scallop tells the story of two people who are tasked with taking the sins of their village to Santiago. The year is 1300 and as men come home from the Crusades, the people of a small English estate struggle to accept the changes that homecoming must mean. Father Gregory sends Elenor, the 14-year-old lord's daughter, and her betrothed Thomas, leader of the returning Crusaders. During more than 4 months on the road, they meet all kinds of pe...more
Anonymous Homeschooler
I don’t know why I liked this book. It’s not exiting. It’s not scary. It’s told in medieval times, which isn’t exactly my favorite setting. Something about it, though, caught my favor.
It did have its funny moments. The dialog was was witty, and the characters were well developed.
The best way to describe it is by saying that is was charming. Told kind of like a fairy tale, yet not unrealistic. Also, it was very well written.
One would think, by any description of this book, that it would be bor...more
Tasha
Here's a journey of self-discovery! Elenor, a girl of rank, has an arranged marriage to a knight returning from the crusades. But the returning warriors have a burden on their shoulders that needs lifting. A pilgrimage is determined to be the answer the village needs in order to heal, but only Elenor and her betrothed are given the task. They must follow specific rules or forfeit the forgiveness the pilgrimage will afford the villagers. All in all a good read. If you like Karen Cushman's "Matild...more
Jane
If every book takes the reader into a new world, then points to Frances Temple for inviting her audience into the old, long-gone world of medieval pilgrimage. Temple does a fine job telling the story of a journey to St. James of Compostela, borrowing from Chaucer the idea of pilgrims telling
stories within the story. Her characters are uniformly likeable, their adventures jog along at a steady pace, and with minor exceptions,
her research about life in the 13th/14th century is good. Am I damning h...more
Michele
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I was pre-reading it to see if it would be appropriate for my 10-year old daughter. While it would go along with our history studies perfectly, there was too much sexual awareness, however gentle, for a middle school child. For me it was a quick and pleasant read. There are many deep topics alluded to that would make interesting discussions with a high school student: sacrifice, body and soul relationship, Christianity and Islam, different sects o...more
Kathryn Eder
This was a great depiction of what occurred in 1300's and about the journey that Thomas and Eleanor in park on a pilgrimage to Spain. Thomas came back from the crusades and really doesn't know about marriage and lordship. Eleanor is not sure about marriage as well and she cannot bear children because she is too small. They were betrothed to each other at a young age and barely know one another. They will learn a lot about each other with this long journey to Spain.
Ashley
Lovely, spare little novel set in Medieval England. Two reluctantly betrothed young people are sent on a pilgrimage to seek forgiveness for the sins of their town. Along the way, they learn about the possibilities in the world around them, in the people they meet, and in each other. Written for lower-level readers, and at first the simplicity of the prose annoyed me, but the story is no less rich nor the meaning any less powerful because of it.
Cheryl
This book is chock-full of fascinating information about the "turn of the century"... 1299-1300. A personal view of the problems of the Crusades and the religious pilgrimages undertaken by many at the time makes the time period come to life. At first I was disappointed by the characters emotional blandness, but as the book went on, I found them to feel real. Very nicely written!
Carrie Anne
Feb 09, 2009 Carrie Anne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Most teenage girls, probably younger teens
This was my favorite book for a long time. I love the way the love is naturally developed.
I read it first from the library, and was horrified and yet delighted to find it in the next book sale. Horrified, that no one else should read it, and delighted, because I was going to purchase it for the reasonable price of a quarter.
Krista
This was a nice book to read as a break from tough literature in high school! I loved the story, the characters, and the journey. The Ramsay Scallop is a quite easy and fun read as it only took me less than a day to read. The writing is simple, but yet it is well written. It is now one of my favorite books!
alex-in-wonder
First medieval-period book I've read in a looong time that had something new to offer... the style definitely reminded me of James Joyce, but then again the author had her own great style that she used, too. The story was thought-provoking and tender and I highly recommend it to anyone.
KaDee
Feb 13, 2012 KaDee rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone who needs a break from vamps and werewolves
I really love this book! Nora (Elinor)and Thomas's relationship developes so slowly that I hardly noticed it, but it really did develope. I thought that the characters were all very well developed, and it was a very refreshing break from vampires and werewolves. =)
Smilingplatypus
A story of pilgrimage, love, and growth which acknowledges the "tough stuff" of medieval life in a tasteful way. The characters are colourful and endearing, and their journey along the Pilgrim Way is a younger person's Canterbury Tales.
Sydney
Maybe more like 3.5 stars. This book was a nice read. Not amazing, but not to dull. I liked all the information in it, and the story wasn't so bad either. It just didn't take off at all for me, and the ending seemed a bit abrupt.
Annamaria
I'd give this a 3.5 if I could; the story is interesting, the writing a bit less than stellar even though it is a ALA Best Book. Basically good solid historical fiction about a time we read little about (late 1200's)
Mindy
I read this book Sophomore year and I remember enjoying it. I'd like to re-read it again as an adult and remember what I enjoyed about it in the first place.
Sarah
Mar 05, 2014 Sarah rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 8+
Recommended to Sarah by: Sonlight
In 5th grade, when I read the sequel to this book The Beduins' Gazelle, I really enjoyed it. So I was excited to see what The Ramsay Scallop would be like. Unfortunately, I was extremely disappointed. To start off with, the main character, Elenor, although fourteen, is pretty naive and immature. In fact, she thinks much like I did at age ten. Furthermore, she has the typical "I'm-betrothed-to-be-married-but-I-don't-want-to-be-married-so-I'll-mope" syndrome. So many books about teenage girls in t...more
Christopher
The opening chapter discusses rape and unfaithful spouses. I can already tell this is a great book for children.
Janet
Charming historical fiction about a betrothed couple who go on pilgrimage in Europe in 1300. The author did a nice job conveying the history and the attitudes of the time. I particularly liked the attitudes of the two main characters, as their near hostility and fear of each other grows to friendship and affection. Unlike in much historical fiction, they don't feel like people with modern attitudes wearing old fashioned clothing.
Anne
I bought this book at a book sale a few years ago and finally started reading it this month. I don't have much reading time at the moment, so I needed something light and easy. This book did fit that description, but still has a lot of history, story and character development. The thing I didn't like is the last chapter.
Hallie
Rereading this for That Was Then - I loved the story of Elenor and Thomas's pilgrimage, and it'll be interesting to compare to Gatty's Tale and The Book of the Maidservant.
Jenni
I loved the poetic narration and rich history of this book, I just wish the ending was a little more solid. (I am still uncertain as to the meaning of the title.)
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Frances Temple grew up in Virginia, France, and Vietnam. About her third book she wrote, "The Ramsay Scallop is about our need for adventure and motion, for throwing in with strangers, trusting and listening. The story began to take form in northern Spain along pilgrim trails; was fed by histories, stories, letters, by the testimony of a fourteenthcentury shepherd, by the thoughts of today's pilgr...more
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