This was a captivating story of the establishment of a Spanish convent and it's role in the lives of those who sought asylum within its walls. I picked up this book as a result of Amazon's recommendation and the fact that the premise intrigued me. As a Catholic, church history fascinates me - I was hooked from the very beginning.
Author Helen Bryan weaves a beautiful and soulful story of strong women among the corruption of the Inquisition, the Spanish taking back the Spain, the Conquistador in South America and the treatment of women from the Catholic fathers. This story brings in so many different aspects. The author intertwined the historical period with a modern story of a young woman struggling to reconcile her adopted life with her true roots. The mingling of the two stories was done well. This story starts with Menina Walker, who is rescued and taken to an orphanage run by Catholic nuns and then adopted by a Georgian childless couple. Then, we go to Spain to an old convent, where it all begins...
What if Jesus had a sister? What if that sister founded an order of nuns in Europe to continue Christ's work on the European continent? How would such a sisterhood look? Those are just some of the questions that this book tried to answer...
Helen Bryan has a tremendous imagination to be able to write such a book. There was so much information and characters to keep up with that it is a book that should be read when you can concentrate and read it in one sitting. It is not a book that can be put down half way through and picked up later easily, as there is so much information to be remembered. At times, it was weighed down by some side stories. But nonetheless it was utterly original and fascinating.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Catholic history or feminism.
I use y word feminist advisedly here, because above all this book scrolls the virtues of women and the amazing things they can accomplish..It is not solely about women, nor are the male protagonists pale copies, however there is no doubt women and their sisterhood are the stars of this book..I would have been very interested in seeing the research on which the author based this book; it is clearly well researched..My knowledge of religious orders, the Spanish Inquisition, the Conquistadors, the Incas and life in general in 16th century Spain grew with every chapter. The fact that this book was so lively and fascinating speaks volumes for the writer's ability to bring history alive. The characters were interesting and skilfully drawn. My only criticism, if it is that, is that the book was a bit drawn-out and self-indulgent with the author sidetracking regularly to introduce new characters and sub-plots. I also found the ending less than satisfying for such a scholarly work..
Its not many books you would willingly read again, but this one I would. I really enjoyed it. Totally different to other books around. Wonderful tail that emphasises the strength of women working together. Loved the mystery component as well. Definitely recommend it.
16th century Spain and South American come to life in this novel following the story of a medal and a chronicle belonging to an order of nuns. A series of events in the modern era lead one girl to uncover the mysteries of the artefacts and tie all the pieces together, it takes twists and turns and even ends at the beginning of Christianity to complete the picture ( a pun on words that you will have to read the book to understand!)
Great read - Enjoyed the way you went smoothly between the different times without disrupting the story. Interesting insight into what life was like back in that terrifying part of history. Can't open another book to read at the moment as I am still enjoying the moment and don't want to ruin it. Many thanks Helen Bryan - you write a brilliant story.
What a magnificent read. Interesting theory of the gospel's as decreed by the sisters of the convent in Spain. The author brought the fear instilled by the inquisition to life throughout the book. The final chapters culminate in a thought provoking look at the historical events pertaining to religious wars since the 16th century that are continuing today.
A great book that covers the past & present about a Christian community of nuns entwined with early Christian life, moving to the 16th century then to today and then back to 47-AD. Traveling from Rome to Spain to the Americas then back to Spain. A Great read and some 'late' nights. Thanks Helen Bryan.
I was wary when I bought this book as I didn't think I would enjoy it. I gave it a try and soon was engrossed in the story. Well written it smoothly covers the story of some women. Over a span of centuries. I recommend it as a great read.
This story was engrossing and intriguing from the first page to the last. The story jumps between the 16th century to 20th. One never knew what to expect from the characters; they were very human but courageous under the trying circumstances they were forced to accept. The plot was so intricately woven that you never knew quite what to expect. If you ever wondered what it might be like to live in the times of the Spanish Inquisition, you will be in no doubt after reading this book. It had a beautiful ending.
I absolutely loved this book. Congratulations to the author.