ILLUMINATIONS by Mary Sharratt

Mary Sharratt is such a talented author. I first “met” her between the pages of a book when I read THE VANISHING POINT, a poignant portrayal of an unwanted English girl sent to marry someone suitable in the 17th century American colonies, and of the sister who followed her.

This was followed by DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHES HILL, a sensitive portrayal of the various people put to death in 1612, during the Pendle Witches Trial.

IlluminationsAnd now we have ILLUMINATIONS, a fictionalized biography of Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), the musician, poet and mystic, known during her lifetime as “The Sybil of the Rhine”.

Ms. Sharratt opens her tale when Hildegard is 8 years old, and is walled up in a cell as companion to 14-year-old Jutta who has taken vows an an anchorite. She spends the next 30 years imprisoned in this cell, only being let out after Jutta’s death.

A potential reader might now be wondering if this book is interesting. How can 30 years of boredom and suffocation in a cell be interesting to read about?

But it is.

It is fascinating, and this is what makes Mary Sharratt such a terrific author. In this book, she has outdone herself (and her other novels are very good).

If you have never read Mary’s novels before, or you want to know more about Hildegard von Bingen, BUY THIS BOOK! You won’t be sorry. Five stars. A book club recommendation.

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