“A fascinating story set in a medieval Benedictine monastery.”CA F wrote this review Thursday, September 24, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Recommend”Lynette wrote this review Tuesday, September 22, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I am really enjoying this book. Interesting story, with a wide variety of personalities. Steady pace without being slow.
Set in a convent in 1570 it shows convent life - how the outside world affects it and the internal effects brought about by the individuals living there.
“The nuns of the convent of Santa Caterina in 16th century Ferrara, Italy, have a comfortable life. Although they have a "modified" rule of silence, their abbess is a kind and liberal woman who lets them enjoy their pleasures, which include wine in Murano glass goblets and keeping pets. The nuns enjoy performing plays and concerts for the townsfolk. Because the price of dowries has made it difficult for even wealthy families to afford more than one, only the most beautiful daughters are married off. The others are sent to convents. For some of them it's a welcome relief from arranged marriages and the risk of death in childbirth; for others it's a prison. Suora Zuana, 16 years a nun, is content to be the convent's apothecary, tending her plants and herbs and making up potions to ease her sisters' ailments. Some in the convent hear the rumblings of coming reforms, a result of the Council of Trent, which threaten to bring austerity to the order. The plot involves an unhappy novice, an elderly nun who's transported by mystical visions and political infighting. This is enjoyable historical fiction. Suora Zuana is an appealing protagonist, and the details of life in the convent are fascinating. Although it's a rather long book, the pace never lags. This would be a good choice for book discussion groups.”Suzanne F wrote this review Tuesday, September 29, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“My first Sarah Dunant book. It was a bit tedious at times, but overall interesting and entertaining.”Jeri W wrote this review Monday, September 7, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is a great book - Sarah Dunant is a wonderful storyteller. The book does start out with some violence, which is unexpected when expecting a nice, quiet convent. But the beginning paints the picture of the circumstances of the nuns at this 16th century cloister in Italy. Many of these ladies are here by choice, others are not. This book is about the nuns: their circumstances, their idiosyncrasies, their beliefs and their relationships with each other. One young lady in particular has been placed in this convent by her father and struggles to control her rage while she plots her escape. In this story you see the personalities, the power struggles, and the camaraderie as the women work. I found it hard to put down.”Patti B wrote this review Thursday, September 3, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Oh how this book made me want to cry, I was so wrapped up in the stories of Serafina, Zuana, Chiara, even Umiliana. It amazes me when an author can write something like this, an experience they do not personally know, yet make it seem so authentic. I fell in love with this book from the start, and have nothing but a glowing review to give it.
To read the rest of my review, please visit:
“Could not finish Historical fiction set in 1500's in a convent.
Probably a good book. Just not for me.
“Really enjoyed this book.
I would not have picked it out for myself, but a friend chose it for book club and I'm glad she did. It was excellent.
I was not sure there would be much to a novel about nuns in a convent, but throw in a novice who really does not want to be there and that changes things. Plus, I never really thought much about convent politics, but I guess politics finds its way into everything.
There was much more to this book than I thought there would be and I enjoyed it very much.
Definitely recommend this one.”