Friday, October 9, 2015

The Anchoress - Robyn Cadwallader

I love learning about obscure pieces of history that reveal so much about the times and lives of the people who lived in the times portrayed.  This is the story of a young girl who chooses to live in a cell, called an anchorhold, that is attached to the outside of a church.  She is nailed in, never to leave the cell again, to practice a life of devotion and servitude.  She has a narrow angled window in the church wall, called a squint where she can see the altar in the church to view the sacraments being shared.  There is another window draped in a heavy curtain through which a maid servant cares for her needs.

This was a common practice in medieval times.  The story is set in 1255.  Sarah is deeply sadden by the death of her sister and chooses the life of the anchoress to shield herself from the world.  She finds however that the world still penetrates her isolated existence.

The author is a scholar of medieval history and her knowledge is woven into the life of Sarah and her reactions to her choices.  Highly recommended.

Published:  2015   Read: October 2015  Genre: Historical fiction

ISBN:  9780374104252

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