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Sacred Hearts ~ Sarah Dunant

February 20, 2010


Genre: Adult Fiction

Publisher: Random House

432 pp.

ISBN: 9781400063826

When Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt were media-feuding, she once referred to him as having been born without a sensitivity chip. While I’ve always been good to friends and lovers, I think, I sometimes fit this description. I’m not cruel or heartless but I just can’t get behind the tissue soaked chick-flicks other women love. Likewise, I have a hard time picking up Nicholas Sparks or Danielle Steele. They just aren’t my cup of tea

That said, I will tell you this: I like a certain kind of chick-lit. I’m not sure if Phillipa Gregory and Sarah Dunant have made the world of chick-lit accessible to me or if they’ve made the world of history accessible for people who generally only read chick-lit but I have no worries, regardless of the answer. I have just finished my second Dunant book, Sacred Hearts (also her most recent publication), and I think I may, officially be head over heels in love.

The setting is Saint Caterina’s convent in Renaissance Italy. Contrary to the myths ad legends of cold, dark, restrictive nunneries, St. Caterina’s is very much the Renaissance hideaway. The girls and women sing and read, learn medicine and praise God.

Of course, like all things too good to be true, there are dark forces from in the inside and out threatening to take down the liberal lifestyle of the convent. The winds of change begin the night that novice Serafina comes crashing in like a hurricane. Full of life, love and most of all, angst, she begins to unearth divisions in the community. Befriending older nun and dispensary mistress, Suora Zuana, she leaps into the dark under belly of years of conflict on the verge of tearing apart the entire lifestyle the nuns hold as sacred.

It’s beautiful. It’s dramatic. It’s a little bit teen-angsty. Dunant is an incredible storyteller and does something to the female character that few writers, male or female are able to do. She breathes life and passion and intelligence in what would, by another pen, be lack luster, two-dimensional characters.  This is my second Dunant novel in span of a very short time and I can’t wait to get my hands on more.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 21, 2010 3:38 pm

    I think you are like me. Sarah Dunant is one of my favorite writers. I have also read In the Company of a Courtesan and one more of hers the name escapes me as I have just woken up.

    I am glad you liked this book!

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