15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Riveting - a must read!,
This review is from: Sacred Hearts (Hardcover)
In 16th century Italy daughters of nobility were well married off if their families could afford sizable dowries, or they were shipped off to a convent to be brides of Christ.
Serafina turns down the suitor chosen by her family, because she has fallen for an unsuitable man. Her would be suitor chooses her flirtatious sister instead, and her father refuses to allow Serafina to follow her love. Her sister has a lavish wedding, but Serafina is taken to the convent of Santa Caterina in Ferrara. She is unwilling, sullen, and determined to get out just as soon as possible. All novices have the right, after one year in the convent, to seek audience with the Bishop, with the possibility of returning to the world, but she cannot bear to think of even waiting that long. She speaks little, stating simply "The words came from my mouth, not my heart" to ensure that all know she is there under duress, and her vows are therefore meaningless.
Serafina assists Suora Zuana who teaches her how to use herbs and to mix and administer medicines. They become close.
Life in the convent is enriched by the interesting characters of the nuns - the pure at heart, the rule breakers, the vain, the motherly - and Sarah Dunant brings them to life wonderfully.
Read this excellent book to find out what happens to Serafina. Highly recommended, and one to re-read.