Monday, 5 April 2010

Sarah Dunant: Sacred Hearts

1570 in the Italian city of Ferrara, and the convent of Santa Caterina is filled with noble women who are married to Christ because many cannot find husbands outside. Enter sixteen-year-old Serafina, ripped by her family from an illicit love affair, howling with rage and hormones and determined to escape. While on the other side of the great walls, counter-reformation forces in the Church are pushing for change, inside, Serafina's spirit and defiance ignite a fire that threatens to engulf the whole convent. This is a novel about power, creativity and passion - both of the body and of the soul.

Although the storyline did not sound gripping, this novel has been one of my most favourite reads ever. The personal stories around Suora Zuana, novice Serafina, Suora Umiliana and abbess Madonna Chiara and the other members of the convent are well interwoven with the church reformations outside the convent walls. I would not have chosen to read this book had it not been featured on the book club. Also, the references to the bible and the fact that the psalms used have been chosen to match the stories make this book an irresistible read.

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