“excellent book with lots of interaction and turns. A story of women surviving and thriving in a society where women didn't count for much. Over coming troubles and crisis and working together. Also a love story true to heart. ”travelingfrog wrote this review Wednesday, October 30, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Historically interesting, average plot, way too long.”Mike P wrote this review Friday, August 16, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Seafina is an outraged, unhappy, unwilling 16 year old novice committed to the convent of Santa Caterina in 16 century Ferrara. The Infirmary sister, Zuana, who was also forced to enter the convent years earlier, tries to help her while other nuns battle for Serafina's soul. The politics of convent life and of the period are vividly drawn with credible characters and a strong story line. ”Hilary R wrote this review Friday, August 2, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is a beautifully crafted story. It kept me up last night reading till the sky turned pink…
I loved the strong courageous women and admired the way the manipulated the oppressive world they lived in. The twists and turns of this sad chapter of cloistered women is heart wrenching. Well done and I look forward to more from this writer
“Sacred Hearts – Sarah Dunant
Audio version by Rosalyn Landor
A surprising amount of intrigue and drama can take place inside the walls of a 16th century Italian convent. The convent of Santa Caterina in Ferrara is hive of activity. The emotional outbursts of the newest novice disturb the convent’s peace, while the religious and political repercussions of the counter reformation threaten convent traditions from within and without. As the dispensary mistress, Suora Zuana is charged with the responsibility for Novice Serafina’s health and emotional well-being. The Abbess, Madonna Chiara has the responsibility for maintaining the convent’s reputation and the delicate balance conventional life.
I would not make a very good nun. Like Serafina, I’d find it impossible to view the convent as anything other than a prison. Sarah Dunant does a very good job of presenting another perspective. The historical detail of this book is very rich. Although it is set entirely within the convent walls, Dunant gives a clear picture of Italian life outside the enclosure. The lives of women are constrained outside the convent as well as inside. Madonna Chiara is engaged in a subtle fight for those freedoms still allowed within the convent walls. She will not allow one unhappy novice to interfere with the convent’s viability. Suara Zuana takes a physician’s view and places the well-being of her patient above other considerations. The resolution of the conflict made me smile; unlikely, but satisfying.
“I love the way Sarah Dunant writes historical fiction. Set in a convent in Italy in the 16th century, these characters seem so real you have a hard time remembering they are fictionalized. Ms. Dunant did her research, though. This is set in an actual convent, and the treatment of these women is based on real events and documents. Stunning!”jake wrote this review Thursday, March 28, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Interesting Characterizations in a 16th Century Convent.
Ripped by her family from an illicit love affair, sixteen-year-old Serafina is willful, emotional, sharp, and defiant–young enough to have a life to look forward to and old enough to know when that life is being cut short. Her first night inside the walls is spent in an incandescent rage so violent that the dispensary mistress, Suora Zuana, is dispatched to the girl’s cell to sedate her.”
“pretty slow starting. I really liked The Birth of Venus better”carleen wrote this review Saturday, March 2, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I would like to give this a 4 1/2. If you like reading about nuns in the 16 century than this is a book for you. Great story and very interesting read about convent life and intrigues. The story revolves around a 16 year old girl forced into the church. A good historical read.”Barbara G wrote this review Wednesday, February 13, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No