Audie Award Finalist, Inspirational/Faith-Based Fiction, 2014
Skillfully interweaving historical fact with psychological insight and vivid imagination, Sharratt's redemptive novel, Illuminations, brings to life one of the most extraordinary women of the Middle Ages: Hildegard von Bingen, Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath. Offered to the Church at the age of eight, Hildegard was entombed in a small room where she was expected to live out her days in silent submission as the handmaiden of a renowned but disturbed young nun, Jutta von Sponheim.
Instead, Hildegard rejected Jutta's masochistic piety and found comfort and grace in studying books, growing herbs, and rejoicing in her own secret visions of the divine. When Jutta died some thirty years later, Hildegard broke out of her prison with the heavenly calling to speak and write about her visions and to liberate her sisters and herself from the soul-destroying anchorage.
Riveting and utterly unforgettable, Illuminations is a deeply moving portrayal of a woman willing to risk everything for what she believed.
"[A] gripping story." (Publishers Weekly)
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Couldn't stop listening
The author brings to light the life of a fascinating and amazing historical character. Worth listening to.
A must-read for anyone who loves her music
After the strength of the story, itself, it was Tavia Gilbert's surprising ability to sing Hildegard's music that made this memorable as an audiobook.
The lovely nature of good historical fiction, of which this is an example, is the ability to humanize the people who made history.
- M. Leavell