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The Resource Sacred hearts : a novel, Sarah Dunant

Sacred hearts : a novel, Sarah Dunant

Label
Sacred hearts : a novel
Title
Sacred hearts
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Sarah Dunant
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
The year is 1570, and in the convent of Santa Caterina, in the Italian city of Ferrara, noblewomen find space to pursue their lives under God's protection. But any community, however smoothly run, suffers tremors when it takes in someone by force. And the arrival of Santa Caterina's new novice sets in motion a chain of events that will shake the convent to its core
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Dunant (The Birth of Venus ) revisits 16th-century Italy, where the convents are filled with the daughters of noblemen who are unable or unwilling to pay a dowry to marry them off. The Santa Caterina convent’s newest novice, Serafina, is miserable, having been shunted off by her father to separate her from a forbidden romance. She also has a singing voice that will be the glory of the convent and—more importantly to some—a substantial bonus for the convent’s coffers. The convent’s apothecary, Suora Zuana, strikes up a friendship with Serafina, enlisting her as an assistant in the convent dispensary and herb garden, but despite Zuana’s attempts to help the girl adjust, Serafina remains focused on escaping. Serafina’s constant struggle and her faith (of a type different from that common to convents) challenge Zuana’s worldview and the political structure of Santa Caterina. A cast of complex characters breathe new life into the classic star-crossed lovers trope while affording readers a look at a facet of Renaissance life beyond the far more common viscounts and courtesans. Dunant’s an accomplished storyteller, and this is a rich and rewarding novel. (Aug.) --Staff (Reviewed June 1, 2009) (Publishers Weekly, vol 256, issue 22, p31)
  • /* Starred Review */ With her third novel set during the Italian Renaissance (after The Birth of Venus and In the Company of the Courtesan ), Dunant continues to captivate. The year is 1570, and the convent of Santa Caterina, in the northern city of Ferrara, is considered the crown jewel of Italian nunneries. In a time when the cost of a daughter's dowry is staggering, many noblemen choose to marry surplus daughters off to the church, a far less expensive option. Not surprisingly, not all the women are willing participants. This is the story of the unlikely friendship forged between two women—Serafina, the angry, rebellious novice forced into convent life after an illicit affair comes to light, and Zuana, the calm, capable head of the dispensary, who cannot forget her painful assimilation 16 years previously. VERDICT Dunant brilliantly depicts the daily rhythms of convent life and offers an intriguing glimpse into 16th-century church politics. A rich tale filled with passion and the enduring power of faith, this novel is highly recommended for historical fiction readers.—Makiia Lucier, Moscow, ID --Makiia Lucier (Reviewed July 15, 2009) (Library Journal, vol 134, issue 12, p81)
  • Another Renaissance novel from Dunant (In the Company of the Courtesan, 2006, etc.), this one focused on convent life. In 16th-century Italy, convents were not home merely to women who felt called to Christ. They were also repositories for ugly, unconventional or otherwise unmarriageable daughters. Many of these discarded young women were from noble families, and the luxuries and extravagances of court life left them disinclined toward asceticism. Nuns who vowed to avoid unnecessary talk nevertheless managed to gossip. Women committed to poverty lined their rough habits with satin and fur. And the promise of eternal chastity was no safeguard against desire. Dunant does a thorough job of depicting these tensions, conflicts and paradoxes. She captures convent life and sets it in a larger cultural context, paying particular attention to the religious politics of the times. The novel boasts a bibliography of 56 titles, and the reader who is so inclined can make a game of guessing which historical or theological tidbit came from which source. Unfortunately, this is about the only form of entertainment on offer here. The book has none of the dash, energy and storytelling confidence that made Dunant's last novel so enjoyable. She seems overwhelmed or overawed by her material, and the narrative is not merely slow but oddly repetitive. Characters make the same discoveries again and again, and even the most dramatic events simply dissipate. The repetitive plot does have the effect of giving the reader a sense of a nun's existence, defined as it is by a never-deviating schedule of devotions. For the nun with a true vocation, this is no doubt a source of comfort and even elation, a release from mundane time and a tantalizing foretaste of eternity. But the average reader is likely to identify with those extraneous daughters interred against their will, struggling to stay awake and yearning for a little action. A disappointing effort from a talented writer. (Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2009)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
321102
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Dunant, Sarah
Dewey number
823/.914
Index
no index present
LC call number
PR6054.U45756
LC item number
S33 2009
Literary form
novels
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Nuns
  • Convents
  • Women
  • Ferrara (Italy)
Label
Sacred hearts : a novel, Sarah Dunant
Instantiates
Publication
Note
"Originally published in the United Kingdom by Virago Press, an imprint of the Little, Brown Book Group, London" -- verso
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (p. [412]-415)
Dimensions
24 cm.
Edition
1st U.S. ed.
Extent
415 p.
Isbn
9781400063826
Lccn
2009002246
System control number
(OCoLC)290470032
Label
Sacred hearts : a novel, Sarah Dunant
Publication
Note
"Originally published in the United Kingdom by Virago Press, an imprint of the Little, Brown Book Group, London" -- verso
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (p. [412]-415)
Dimensions
24 cm.
Edition
1st U.S. ed.
Extent
415 p.
Isbn
9781400063826
Lccn
2009002246
System control number
(OCoLC)290470032

Library Locations

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      85 Literary Lane, Newnan, GA, 30265, US
      33.38561 -84.669793

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