Review: Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant

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Title:Sacred Hearts
Author:Dunant, Sarah
Publisher:Random House
Pages:432

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.

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12 Responses so far

  1. Gravatar

    I am so glad that you enjoyed this.. I did too & was one of my favorite reads this year. I was surprised that some didn’t like it!
    Great review!

  2. Gravatar

    I can understand a frustration of getting into the story with all the detail but once in how can anyone not love the characters and the plight of Serifina?

  3. Gravatar

    Hey, Pam! I gave you an award! Come by and pick it up here, momma: Award

  4. Gravatar

    I really enjoy historical fiction — thanks for introducing me to this author!

  5. Gravatar

    I *loved* this book! I’m glad your review focused so much on Zuana too because she was really the heroine of this book. My review doesn’t post until Friday, but I think you do a lot more justice to Zuana than I did!!

  6. Gravatar

    Let me know when your review is up! I would love to read it!

  7. Gravatar

    This one looks good as well. I love the cover. Very interested in your review of this book.

  8. Gravatar

    I haven’t read any of this author’s work, but your review makes this book sound so wonderful. I’m anxious to read it now.

  9. Gravatar

    Congrats Pam on the new baby. Just found you lovely blog thanks to BBAW. I wish you both well.

  10. Gravatar

    I have yet to read it and the reason I keep hesitating is because I actually wasn’t crazy about The Birth of Venus. But I really want to give the author another chance because I love historical fiction and I agree with you on how Ms Dunant focuses on different roles of women and not only the queens, princesses or courtesans.

  11. Gravatar

    I wasn’t too crazy about The Birth of Venus either, I did like In The Company of… and I did like this one a great deal after the first few chapters.

  12. Gravatar

    Pam!

    Like Serena, I wanted to congratulate you on the new baby. I hope you’re already reading to it. (Boy, girl?) Very nice, and I can’t believe you’re back to blogging with a newborn.

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