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Historical Novels Review - May 1, 2010
"Sankaran tells a vibrant tale, and her research into papermaking
and the daily lives of the rich and poor in medieval France adds
lush background to this novel. I found it a compelling
page-turner... a stunning debut from a talented author."
-- Diane Scott Lewis
Booklist - March 1, 2010
A recent trend in historical fiction is the immersion of
multifaceted female protagonists into a trade or profession.
Sankaran follows suit by introducing another strong female character
into the genre. Born an albino in medieval France, Auda endures a
dreadful experience: her tongue is amputated by a healer’s
apprentice who believes she has been cursed by the devil. Unable to
speak, she is an avid reader and writer who masters her father’s
craft as a papermaker at a time when the Church, suspicious of
independent thought and communication, tightly controls and monitors
access to parchment. When Auda gives voice to her passions through
her poetry, both she and her father become victims of the
Inquisition. Sankaran deftly illuminates a time of intellectual
darkness in this superbly rendered debut.
-- Margaret Flanagan
Library Journal – February 15, 2010
“Avoiding being either overly dark or sweet, this debut historical
by an author who already plans a second novel about printmaking in
Italy has potential for book club discussions and will appeal to
readers of medieval historical fiction who enjoyed Brenda
Vantrease’s The Illuminator.”
-- Mary K. Bird-Guilliams, Wichita P.L., KS