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Letters of a Portuguese Nun: Uncovering the Mystery Behind a 17th Century Forbidden Love
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Letters of a Portuguese Nun: Uncovering the Mystery Behind a 17th Century Forbidden Love

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  122 ratings  ·  21 reviews
In 1669, a Parisian bookseller published a slim volume called Portuguese Letters, which unveiled a love affair between a young Portuguese nun and a French officer that had occurred a few years earlier during a war-torn period in Portugal. The book contained passionate love letters from the nun when the officer was forced to return to France.The letters took Paris by storm. ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published February 14th 2007 by Miramax Books (first published 2006)
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I don't know where to begin. Short book you can finish in one setting. It should have been titled "I Hate You, Don't Leave Me". It is NOT a mystery and NOT about love. This is a good history book. Then it includes the 5 supposedly authentic "love" letters written by the nun Mariana. I saw no evidence of "love"...obsession, neediness, possessiveness, clinginess, craziness, psycho behavior...yes, love no.

The thing I learned from this book is that women have always been the same, even 350 years ago
Scandal. War-time nun on French captain romance inside the convent walls. A fresh look at 17th century, tumultuous Portugal and some of the most famous (for the time) love letters, widely published in several languages, that come on the heels of illicit romance. Smart, spunky nun gets to know dashing, hunky French army captain when the French come in to aid Portugal during the civil war. The hook up on...wait for it...The Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Dashing, hunky French captain returns ...more
this was such a fanstastic read. I found it so interesting. A good film maker could make this one heck of a romantic movie
Othon Leon
A masterpiece by Myriam Cyr...

"It may be you will find greater beauty, but NEVER will you find such love, and all the rest is nothing"... such are the words written by 26 years old Mariana Alcoforado in a first letter -as she was a shut nun in 1665 Portugal- to her recently lost lover, a kind of misteryous, tall, intelligent, handsome and passionate french officer (monsieur Chamilly) who's destiny brought him to the scene of a local civil warfare thet involved stationed troops and a few times ro
I initially picked up the book thinking it would have an introduction covering the background and history of the period surrounding the letters, with the majority of the text being the actually letters. Much to my surprise, it was quite the reverse. The history of the period and mystery surrounding the letters was nicely explained to the level of those who are not a fan of reading about history (or herstory). The letters did take me back to times when I have felt used and rejected by those I tho ...more
The seventeenth century smash hit Letters of a Portuguese Nun was one of those works I half thought I'd read but never actually picked up (Don Quixote's another one). The letters themselves are shocking, raw and sensational - I see why simply everyone at Louis XIV's court had to have an opinion on them. The force of a woman's rage against not just an individual man but the system that gives him all the freedoms she desires burn through the centuries, and can't have made for comfortable reading a ...more
The letters in this book are a must-read; the book itself is a very basic introduction to the letters and their historical context. While I enjoyed this book, I see it as a good starting point for learning more about the period and the lives of Portuguese nuns...which I had had no idea were so fascinating!
I am so angry at myself when I think of all I sacrificed for you: I have lost my reputation, I exposed myself to my family's fury, to the severity of this country's laws against nuns, moreover to your ingratitude, which seems to me to be the greatest of my woes. And yet, I can see that my remorse is not real, that in earnest, I would have liked, for love of you, to have encountered greater dangers...

Imagine. A real-life love affair between a nun and a soldier in the 1600s with civil war as backd
i wanted this to be a heartwrenching tale of unrequited love that only a lovesick nun could tell. instead there was a lot of backstory about the nun and her lover that had more to do with the war than their forbidden relationship. it was, at best, a "nice" account of a scandalous affair that NO ONE actually had specifics on. the best writing was the letters themselves, which the author gave so much lead up to that i was expecting to see a drumroll typed out before i turned to them on the next pa ...more
Cyr provides interesting historical context to the Letters from a Portuguese Nun. Her theory is well researched, but I wish there was more focus on the romance. She also seems to be very forgiving of Chamily and his abandonment of Mariana.
I appreciate that she included the letters. The letters themselves are heart wrenching, especially with the knowledge that Mariana could never find live again. The sentiments she expresses of betrayal and desperation transcend time.
I found the book very interesting, but can say it's probably not for everyone. The mystique built up around the letters is far more intriguing than the actual content of the letters. Basically, when I read them my thought was "OK, this guy dumped you, get over it!". Still, the history in the book is interesting and I do recommend it if you're clear up front that it's no magic story.
Lisa Corathers
I was disappointed with this book, although the letters reportedly written by the nun Marianna to her French lover, Chamilly, were very poignant indeed. (I say reportedly, as there are still scholarly questions as to who actually authored them. I, for one, see no reason to think Marianna didn't write them.)
Apr 17, 2007 Jenna rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: DaVinci Code fans
Not exactly what I was expecting, I thought it was going to be more like the actual letters. Instead author paints an interesting story about who this nun could have been and what the motives behind the letters were. Great read, quick and interesting
This was a fascinating look at one iota of history. I found it quite compelling, although I wish more of the book had actually dealt with the romance itself rather than some of the dry historical facts of the day.
While I did enjoy the letters more than anything, I did not enjoy the dry historical facts. Though they helped me understand the background of the letters, sometimes they were full of too much information.
Really interesting narrative history ... author makes a compelling argument for the identity of the nun, and the nun's love letters are very moving.
I liked this edition because Cyr included the back story and her reasoning for believing the letters to be real. The letters will break your heart.
Dagbjört Ásgeirsdóttir
I liked the scenery, place and time in history and the characters, but I only made it to the middle of the story.
Genie Searcy
tenderly touching. a lot of lead up to the letters. however, i didn't mind the historical info a bit.
Mariana Alcoforado fascinates me! I wish there were more books about her.
What I learned from this book, in 200 words or fewer:

Once more the Fergus bookstore provides, this time with a tome on Les lettrs portugaises, which I'd heard about but never actually read. Anyways, this is Cyr's attempt to solve the mystery of the letters' original authorship. It's not terrible, altho. the writing is sloppy in places. At one point, Cyr briefly delves into some research on how publication functioned in Ancien Regime France, which is a good idea, but not too deeply developed. Ove
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O Amor Proibido de uma  Freira Portuguesa

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