In the year 1570, the Italian convent of Santa Caterina, welcomed a young novice, sixteen year old Serafina. The young woman, however, did not welcome her new situation. A teenager in love with her music teacher, Serafina was sent to the convent because her family did not have enough money to provide large enough dowries for their two daughters. Serafina was chosen to enter the convent, while her younger sister was chosen for marriage.
In this novel, Sarah Dunant explores the life of a young girl who is being forced to live in a virtual prison. At least that is the angle the author is presenting. While I have enjoyed many of Sarah Dunant’s novels in the past, this one didn’t sit right with me. I was fine with the premise, but Dunant makes it seem as if the idea of having a spiritual relationship with Christ could only be the result of madness. The nuns who wanted to be in the convent were either power driven, crazy, or found some solace other than faith that satisfied them. To me, it simply lacked realism, likely because the author lacks faith herself. It’s too bad, because it could have been an excellent novel.
2 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2009