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Books about nuns

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Post by Ariadne » Mon August 17th, 2009, 12:04 pm

[quote=""Chatterbox""]Similarly, a former American nun, Mary Pat Kelly, wrote a memoir entitled Special Intentions. [/quote]

This is a sidenote, but since the name was familiar I looked up the author's website -- she's the same Mary Pat Kelly who wrote the historical novel Galway Bay, an Irish immigrant family saga, out this past spring.

Has anyone mentioned Sylvia Townsend Warner's The Corner That Held Them? It's set in a Benedictine convent in 14th-c Norfolk.
Last edited by Ariadne on Mon August 17th, 2009, 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by drspoon » Mon August 17th, 2009, 1:53 pm

I was sorry to hear that you found Sarah Dunant's newest book so disappointing; I was looking forward to reading that one. Here are some ideas for you:

"Galileo's Daughter" by Dava Sobel - a biography of Galileo into which Sobel weaves the story of his daughter, a cloistered nun, who becomes his correspondent and confidante. Sobel translated her letters from the original Italian. This is nonfiction and mainly about Galileo (Sobel is a science writer)but the letters provide an illuminating view into the sequestered world of early 17th century nuns; I found the letters fascinating.

"Vivaldi's Virgins" by Quick - This one is on my TBR list, so I cannot personally vouch for it, but it is about a girl living within the cloistered walls of an orphanage in early 18th century Venice. The girl becomes a student of Vivaldi. Not sure how much of the life of the nuns is included, but it is also supposed to be a story told by letters that the young girl writes to her departed mother.
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Post by Divia » Mon August 17th, 2009, 3:26 pm

Thats for the suggestions.

I tried reading Vivaldi's Virgins when it came out and thought it very dull. It seems any book tied to music or has a music theme in it is a wallbanger for me. :p
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Post by Leyland » Mon August 17th, 2009, 3:59 pm

[quote=""Ariadne""]Has anyone mentioned Sylvia Townsend Warner's The Corner That Held Them? It's set in a Benedictine convent in 14th-c Norfolk.[/quote] I started it a few months ago, got 38 pages in and put it down. It's back on my TBR shelf for a start at another time because what I did read was interesting and I do want to complete it in the future.

I've also had Hulme's The Nun's Story on my TBR shelf for a few years. I ordered it after I saw the movie adaptation. It's a 1956 hardback that I got for a reasonable Amazon price. Very good to hear about its excellence.
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Post by Chatterbox » Mon August 17th, 2009, 5:00 pm

Divia, if mysteries & musical themes don't work, you may be a bit out of luck on this front. Rumer Godden and the Salzman book are the only ones I can think of, but they aren't HF.

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Post by Eigon » Mon August 24th, 2009, 8:53 pm

Here's another suggestion for you - I recently read Holy Fools by Joanne Harris (who is famous for writing Chocolat). A circus performer is hiding out from her past in a remote convent in 17thC France - and finds the past catching up with her and taking over the convent in the form of her ex-lover, The Blackbird.
Warped plans for revenge, mad nuns - I enjoyed it.

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Post by SCW » Tue April 3rd, 2012, 12:44 am

There is a novel titled 'Obediance' by J Yallop (don't remember the authors first name).. It's about nuns living under the German occupation of their village...also has some 'forbidden love' (there seems to be a lot of that around)

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Post by cw gortner » Tue April 3rd, 2012, 3:02 am

[quote=""Divia""]Every since I tried to read Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant I have been wondering if there were more books about nuns out there. I find it fascinating. If anyone could list a few that would be great.

BTW I gave up on Hearts because it was soooooo slowww.[/quote]

Divia, you have to re-try "Sacred Hearts" at some point. I didn't like it at first, and put it down. A few weeks later, I started it again and found it to be truly marvelous, plus once it gets going, it's a page-turner. It requires a little more patience to become immersed but it's well worth the effort. ;)
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Post by boswellbaxter » Tue April 3rd, 2012, 4:49 am

I suppose you've heard of Nancy Bilyeau's new novel The Crown (with a nun heroine), but just in case you haven't, it's been getting good reviews.
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Post by SGM » Tue April 3rd, 2012, 9:47 pm

The one that springs most readily to my mind is Huxley's The Devils of Loudon, although I haven't read it since my mid-teens. It made quite an impression on me then but not sure how I would view it now.
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