Last night I started a new book on my new e-reader.

While I must confess that Sarah Dunant’s previous novel, The Birth of Venus, didn’t quite grab me, I’m 35 pgs into her newest work of historical fiction, Sacred Hearts, and I can’t wait to read more so far. The book has a great opening…

By the second half of the sixteenth century, the price of wedding dowries had risen so sharply within Catholic Europe that most noble families could not afford to marry off more than one daughter. The remaining young women were dispatched – for a much lesser price – into convents. Historians estimate that in the great towns and city states of Italy, up to half of all noble women became nuns.

Not all of them went willingly…

This story takes place in the northern Italian city of Ferrara, in 1570…

Sure to delight fans of Dunant’s other works (and fans of historical fiction masters Phillippa Gregory and Tracy Chevalier) the book has already made quite an impression on our department. Both Jen and Erica have  said they enjoyed it. Erica even Twittered that she is now fascinated by nuns. Any recommendations for more wimple-wearing reads? I wonder if I just might feel the same way after reading this book.


RH Library "hearts" Sacred Hearts

Category: Staff Picks


  • A recent teen book with a similar setting is The Falconer’s Knot by Mary Hoffman…

    And maybe a book on St. Therese of Lisieux? I saw this movie and was also rather fascinated by the idea of convent living, etc.

  • Thanks, Susan! I appreciate your recommendations.

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