I have read two previous works from author Sarah Dunant(@sarahdunant), and have been a fan of her style of writing and historical fiction for quite a while. Dunant is able to capture your interest from early in the book, make you fall in love with the characters and provide a history of a time or event while keeping the story interesting. Dunant also uses her platform (or at least I feel so) to show us the history of women in different lifestyles and professions, you always come away with a feeling of happiness the world for women has evolved as much as it has. Flowery language, and brilliant descriptions capture and transport you to an ancient time where you can actually smell the bread baking.
Sacred Hearts follows a choir nun Sister Zuana, and a novice Sister Serefina through the reformations of the church in the 1600′s, first loves, and realizations of what life really means when you are cloistered behind abbey walls. Zuana was raised outside the abbey by a physician father who taught his daughter much of his own alchemy. Having a daughter educated in medicine however did Zuana no favors, when her father passed she was forced to either marry or become a nun. Zuana grapples with her sin of placing her father in her thoughts and prayers more than the holy father himself. Serafina a novice in love struggles with anorexia by holy proxy, being locked in a convent unwillingly, and finding her true place in life. Events in the convent are constantly disruptive as the novice finds her place and learns consequence. This novel transports you to Italy in an amazing time for the church and women. The ending of the book is absolutely perfect. I would recommend this book to anyone who has read and enjoyed Dunant’s previous works, if you like Historical Fiction, if you are interested in women’s hardships in ancient times, or if you just feel the need to read a beautiful story of love and life.