The Cloister by James Carroll

On a rainy day in November 1950, Father Michael Kavanagh seeks refuge in New York's famed Cloisters Museum of medieval art at the northern tip of Manhattan. There he meets a mysterious woman who turns out to be a Jewish historian and Holocaust survivor. One of the few possessions she managed to salvage from the ravages of... Continue Reading →

The Curious Flaw of Amiens Cathedral

A few weeks ago, I was researching medieval church architecture for Book Two of my Hildegard of Bingen series (which will come out in February 2019). Part of the story concerns Hildegard's project of building a church for her new foundation, which she wants to imitate the "French style," i.e. the nascent Gothic style (though,... Continue Reading →

The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer

I have confessed on this blog to being conservative when it comes to my historical fiction: I prefer it realistic and serious, no fantasy, parody, alternative histories, etc. Then I came across a synopsis of The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer. The setting of the novel – medieval Siena – had me sit up... Continue Reading →

The Anchoress by Robyn Cadwallader

Anchoresses were medieval women who chose to pursue a particularly demanding form of monastic life, namely complete isolation from the world. Once enclosed, they would typically live out their lives in a small cell, servants delivering their food and the priest hearing their confession being the only people with whom they would have contact. So... Continue Reading →

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry

Julie Berry's new novel The Passion of Dolssa intrigued me for many reasons. It is historical fiction; it is set in the Middle Ages; it features a saint-like character; and - most interestingly, given the spiritual subject matter - it is geared towards young adults. I admit: I'm not a YA reader, much less writer.... Continue Reading →

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