Author: Vanitha Sankaran
Publication Date: April 13, 2010
Genre: Fascinating Historical Fiction
Source: Vanitha Sankaran
Synopsis from author:
The daughter of a papermaker in a small French village in the year 1320—mute from birth and forced to shun normal society—young Auda finds solace and escape in the wonder of the written word. Believed to be cursed by those who embrace ignorance and superstition, Auda's very survival is a testament to the strength of her spirit. But this is an age of Inquisition and intolerance, when difference and defiance are punishable "sins" and new ideas are considered damnable heresy. When darkness descends upon her world, Auda—newly grown to womanhood—is forced to flee, setting off on a remarkable quest to discover love and a new sense of self . . . and to reclaim her heritage and the small glory of her father's art.
My Thoughts: I found this book to be absorbing and amazingly imaginative. The Middle Ages come to life with the street fairs, the smells of the unwashed bodies, and the sights of the monks, self-flagellating priests, beggars, and the ones who don't want to be noticed. Aude had two strikes against her from birth: being mute (by force) and also having albino traits. Being her during this time would have been unnerving to say the least. She spends much of her life just trying to blend in and to not be noticed. But Aude comes to realize that she is a person of worth and she is willing to sacrifice her life to prove it. She may just be the best written character I've had the honor to encounter this year. I was compelled by her story and found myself anxious with fear as to what may become of her. This book was a fascinating look into an industry, paper making, that I have really never given much thought to. I honestly wasn't sure how the author would make me interested in this time period, but her detailed (not overly though) descriptions of France, the town, and the people who inhabit it, awoke my imagination and once I was past chapter one, there was no looking back.
Thank you to Vanitha Sankaran for sending me a review copy.
I was not compensated for my review.
My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author.
They are my personal reflections based solely on MY experience while reading this novel.