The Anchoress

The Anchoress

Book - 2015
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'So beautiful, so rich, so strange, unexpected and thoughtful ... I loved this book.' Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

England, 1255: Sarah is only seventeen when she chooses to become an anchoress, a holy woman shut away in a small cell, measuring seven paces by nine, at the side of the village church. Fleeing the grief of losing a much-loved sister in childbirth and the pressure to marry, she decides to renounce the world, with all its dangers, desires and temptations, and to commit herself to a life of prayer and service to God. But as she slowly begins to understand, even the thick, unforgiving walls of her cell cannot keep the outside world away, and it is soon clear that Sarah's body and soul are still in great danger...

Robyn Cadwallader's powerful debut novel tells an absorbing story of faith, desire, shame, fear and the very human need for connection and touch. With a poetic intelligence, Cadwallader explores the relationship between the mind, body and spirit in Medieval England in a story that will hold the reader in a spell until the very last page.

Publisher: London :, Faber & Faber,, 2015
ISBN: 9780571313327
Characteristics: 314 pages ;,22 cm


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Jun 23, 2018

I had never heard of an Anchoress before reading this book. Even though it was fiction I also found it educational. Enjoyed this book.

Nov 20, 2015

This gentle but intriguing story takes us into the life of a medieval anchoress who seals herself off from the world, in a tiny room, and offers prayer and counselling to ensure the spiritual well-being of her community. In telling this story the author also gives us well-researched insights into the confronting beliefs and practices that were prevalent at that time concerning women, virginity, sin and redemption. She also maps, in poignant detail, the toll that such beliefs and practices had on those women. A worthwhile read.

Nov 03, 2015

I was interested in how the author would deal with the limited setting (an anchorhold) and interiority and medieval mindset of the main character, Sarah. I think she did a great job. It is a well-told, interesting story showing the characters' spiritual development. This would make a good book club read for a church group.

AliReads Oct 18, 2015

If you feel like the world is too noisy, if you want to shut yourself away for a while for some peace, to figure out how to live in the world, if you're hurting or grieving and nothing helps try reading this. A story about a young woman who chooses the enclosed life of an Anchoress, locked away in the room of a church for the rest of her life. It's also a wonderfully researched medieval setting and the author has written a thesis about virginity and female agency and saints that burst out of dragons!

Sep 06, 2015

The author has set herself a difficult task, writing about a 17 year old girl who has deliberately secluded herself as an anchoress in a cell attached to a church! This is a restrained, deliberate book that maintained my attention right to the end.

Aug 26, 2015

Slow & sad & drab is my description of this book.

Jul 02, 2015

So depressing that I merely skimmed it, awaiting the end.

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