Youth of Becket By Charlotte Mary Yonge – A Must Read

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Charlotte Mary Yonge was a famous English novelist from nineteenth century. Charlotte’s books were admired by many reputed authors of her time like George Eliot, Lewis Carroll, William Ewart Gladstone, Christina Rossetti, Charles Kingsley, Lord Tennyson, Alfred and Anthony Trollope.

Youth of Becket – A Synopsis

The book is inspired by the true life of Archbishop Thomas Becket. Youth of Becket starts with a small narrative of the times under the leadership of the King Henry II of England and his involvement in the war against Count de Montreuil. Soon after, Gilbert A Becket, a wealthy merchant, his serving man, Richard, and a lady, Matilda, are introduced. Matilda and Gilbert get married and give birth to three kids, Thomas A Becket, Mary and Agnes. Since young age, Thomas was popular amongst merchants, knights and the Archbishop. And it was because of this that finally Archdeaconry of Canterbury was awarded to him. The book further tells in detail about the selfless and secular habits of Thomas. After his appointment as the Chancellor to the King, his philanthropy increased even further and so did his base of pupils. His students included children of nobility and young men, including King Henry's own son. On a visit to France, he suggested the alliance of the daughter of King Louis le Jeune for the son of King Henry. Though he went to France as a leader of the embassy sent by King Edward, but he still preferred living like a layman. Later in the narrative, it is shown that King Henry appoints Thomas Becket as the archbishop hoping that he will secularize the Church. However, Becket resigns from the chancellorship and devotes himself for the betterment of the poor. His example is followed till this day and charity is still part of religious duties.

Other Popular Works of Charlotte

Though Charlotte had started writing in 1848, but her first novel that gained critical acclaim and commercial success was The Heir of Redclyffe, which was published in 1853. In her entire literary career, she published over 160 works, most of which were novels. Apart from Youth of Becket, some of her other most famous works include Heartsease, The Daisy Chain, A Book of Golden Deeds, Life of John Coleridge Patteson: Missionary Bishop of the Melanesian Islands, Cameos from English History and Hannah More.

The manner in which Charlotte Mary Yonge has written Youth of Becket, it makes it much more than a mere historical narrative. The book represents virtues of morality, restraint and self-discipline. The way Thomas A Becket has lived his life humbly in spite of being in powerful and authoritative positions makes us re-evaluate the priorities in our lives and teaches us some lessons and ways to make our existence more worthwhile.


Freeditorial is an online library and book publisher, which offers readers with free e-books such as The Life of John Ruskin, Mystery of the Sea, The Patrician, The Benefactress, Afterward, Youth of Becket, Number 70 Berlin and several other novels written by Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, John Galsworthy, Edith Wharton, Charlotte Mary Yonge, Elizabeth Von Arnim, etc., to download or read online.