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The Greenest Branch

(Hildegard of Bingen #1)

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4.28  ·  Rating details ·  193 ratings  ·  34 reviews
In The Greenest Branch the medieval era comes vividly to life in all its romanticism and splendor, but the societal strictures that prevent women from being able to access education and live independent lives are also on display.

The year is 1115, and Germany is torn apart by a conflict between the Emperor and the Pope over who should have the right to appoint bishops and
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Paperback, 314 pages
Published June 18th 2018 by Iron Knight Press
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C.P. Lesley
The twelfth-century German abbess Hildegard of Bingen was a remarkable woman by any standards. Known for her musical compositions and mystical prayers, Hildegard was also Germany’s first recognized female physician. The daughter of minor nobility, she entered the convent in childhood as a tithe from her parents. Excited by the prospect of acquiring an education, then a goal unattainable for girls outside a convent, Hildegard suffers a setback when she confronts the strict seclusion imposed on ...more
Loretta
What an enjoyable book. On the whole, this is a quiet, thoughtful story about Hildegard of Bingen's early years. I think many people are fascinated by this woman and the author brings her to life well.

Hildegard is a rebel in many ways, refusing to accept the limitations laid on her by the Church because she is a woman. In the light of her own times, she shines like a beacon. Perhaps one of the earliest woman to defy the rules and prove women were not just for decoration, childbearing or prayer
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Wendy Long
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Greenest Branch is a book to be savored. The pacing of this novel is gorgeous. Clean, clear, unhurried prose, each word adding to the story. The Greenest Branch is a novel of Germany's first female physician, Hildegard of Bingen. First brought to the Abbey of St. Disibod in 1115 as an unwilling (yet very special) child, over time, Hildegard begins to find her voice, develop her gift of healing, and wield her extraordinary personal power. The flow is so smooth that the reader forgets they are ...more
Paula Butterfield
You might have heard of Hildegard von Bingen, the medieval abbess who produced theological writings as well as books about herbal medicine, who corresponded with church hierarchy and high-level political leaders. Perhaps you’ve read Mary Sharrott’s book, which focuses on Hildegard’s later life. Maybe you’ve seen the illuminations of her mystical visions, or heard her music, such as O Viridissima Virga or Ordo Virtutum (the first opera written by a woman). If you have encountered Hildegard, did ...more
Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger
I really wanted to love this book. Unfortunately, the quality distracted me so much from the story, I could not continue. The premise is great and yet it feels unpolished. I feel this book has great potential with more time to "getting it right". For me, the layering is missing, depth is missing, pacing is missing. It is really hard to write a review like this as I know how much effort it takes to write something and put it out into the world. However, "The Greenest Branch" feels far too "green" ...more
Kim.J
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Do I want to read a tale of Germany's first female physician? Yes please.

Hildegard von Bingen has had much written about her later life but not about her early childhood in the convent. Adams has taken what little is known and crafted an incredibly detailed and believable story.

What would a girl of the 12th century have done with an incurable thirst for knowledge? How could she succeed despite the oppression of a monastic life run by males? What would she miss? This novel attempts to answer
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Rosie Amber
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Greenest Branch is historical fiction set in medieval Germany. It is the first book in a series about the Benedictine abbess Hildegard. The story begins in 1115 when, as a child, Hildegard started her training at the convent of St Disibod. The Covent was in the grounds of an Abbey, with Abbot Juno having overall authority over both religious houses.

Hildegard had a natural flair for herbal medicines and a keen mind for politics, but she faced strong opposition to her academic hopes from the
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Gilli Cohen
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed it very much, however much fiction and speculation was included by necessity. Shame there's no publishing date for the second part yet.
Kristen
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In the early 12th century, a young girl was given as a tithe to the church with the intention that she would be enclosed as an anchoress at the abbey of Disibodenberg. That girl was Hildegard, known to history as Hildegard of Bingen. This novel tells the story of her early years at the abbey of Disibod and attempts to fill in a gap in the historical record.

Author PK Adams does a lovely job bringing a young Hildegard to life with her clear and elegant prose. The setting of
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Jena Henry
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
900 years ago. What would it be like to go back to medieval times and see the towns and castles and how people lived? Do you imagine that it would be primitive and simple? What would it be like to follow a young girl of those times? Do you think that she would have had much of a life? Well, you can go back in time and see that world as if you were there, thanks to author P.K. Adams’ vivid and engaging story of Hildegard.

The Greenest Branch is the first in a two-book series based on the true
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K.M. Pohlkamp
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish I had written this book and I can think of no higher praise. Every word of this book is beautiful. The phrasing, the description. P.K. Adams’ talent for writing is evident upon each page of this notable tale.

True to Hildegard’s life, this book has a slow and perhaps flat plot, but I appreciate the author’s honest recount of the physician’s life. At several points I wished Adams had turned up the tension just a bit more, especially with Hildegard’s potential love interest, but in the
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Elaine Buckley
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Greenest Branch is an engrossing historical novel set in the 1100’s about the early life of Hildegard of Bingen, Germany’s first female physician.

At the age of 10, Hildegard enters the cloister of the Abbey of St. Disibod, following an ancient custom of families’ tithing their tenth child to the church. Enclosure within the cloister means that Hildegard will never see her family again, but she possesses a deep faith and a strong intellect and is thrilled that, unlike other girls of
...more
Elaine Buckley
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Greenest Branch is an engrossing historical novel set in the 1100’s about the early life of Hildegard of Bingen, Germany’s first female physician.

At the age of 10, Hildegard enters the cloister of the Abbey of St. Disibod, following an ancient custom of families’ tithing their tenth child to the church. Enclosure within the cloister means that Hildegard will never see her family again, but she possesses a deep faith and a strong intellect and is thrilled that, unlike other girls of
...more
Sydney Avey
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much has been written, but little is known in popular culture about Hildegard of Bingen. P.K. Adams choice to write the polymathic saint’s life story under cover of historical fiction will do much to correct that oversight. Few individuals, men or women, have excelled in as many fields of knowledge as Hildegard. Even fewer have bridged natural science and spirituality.

The monastic life has always been shrouded in mystery, but in modern times we are largely ignorant of the role monasteries
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Michael Ross
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intrigue, church politics, and carefully drawn characters draw one into this medieval coming of age tale. I was curious- Middle Ages is not my period of expertise, though quite familiar with Germany- the tale of Germany's first female physician led me to do my own research. Though the narrative moves somewhat slowly at times, P.K. Adams draws an ever deepening portrait of Hildegard and her tightrope walk to make progress for medicine, for women, and for the convent. Everything is from ...more
Katherine Scott
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars, rounded up. I didn't like this book so much when I started reading it. It wasn't Illuminations, by Mary Sharratt, another book about Hildegard of Bingen, that I absolutely adored. It bothered me that Adams' version of the early days as an anchoress differed so much from Sharratt's. Eventually, however, I got over the differences and just enjoyed the ride. It's a well told story, highlighting the early life of this remarkable woman. In this version, the spiritual aspects play second ...more
J.P. Choquette
Though outside my usual genre (thriller/suspense) I picked this up as the concept was intriguing and I'd heard about the author through a friend.

I was extremely impressed not only with the great writing but also the way that the author made a historical figure (and setting) come to life. Hildegard was relatable and had a modern edge, despite living in medieval times and I appreciated this as it drew me into her story.

I learned a lot about the time period and medical/spiritual practices of the
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Samantha Winters
I loved this book from start to finish. Adams gives readers the gift and privilege of being inside Hildegard’s mind as her life unfolds. She beautifully captures Hildegard’s love of nature and how to her, nature *was* God. The book reads as if you are carrying on a conversation with Hildegard herself or maybe an interview of Hildegard, in which she does not leave out the harshness of life for a woman of medieval times, while simultaneously remaining full of passion and intelligence, wit, and ...more
Jamie Strong
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hildegard

I knew nothing of Hildegard of Bingen until I ran across this book. It's beautifully written and such a joy to read. Hildegard is an example of a radiant light in dark times during the middle ages. Women at this time in history were nothing more than chattel, however, Hildegard was truly an exception. Unless you were born into royalty or your family had money to send you to a convent, there was not much a woman could do to control her destiny. Her accomplishments are astounding for this
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Hotkitty
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An unexpected joy to read.

At first I was not so sure where this book was going. Once the voice was heard though, it did not waiver. I enjoyed the supposition of what Hildegard might have been like. Just enough of the outside world to make her human and intense enough to keep her otherworldly. What an amazing force she would have been at that time!
linda lipinski
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-to-read
Really enjoyed this book. Fascinating read .. Hildegard of Bengen is an ambitious young woman and has been sent to a convent .. it is attached to a monestary. Her ambition is to be a physician .. she learns under a monk. The convent is known for it poverty and austerity .. she seeks to change this

A true story and very interesting

4.5*
Helen Hollick
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has received a Discovering Diamonds Review:
Helen Hollick
founder #DDRevs
"Little is known about Hildegard’s life after she initially entered the abbey until Jutta’s death. Adams uses that gap in knowledge and creates a detailed and plausible version of her own, enhanced with excellent and accurate details of medieval life"
Penny
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic

Wonderful story that hooked me right from the start. The characters are well drawn. I became invested in the main character Hildegard and many of the secondary characters. There were instances of suspense that grabbed me. Historically I am not very familiar with that time period, but it all seemed feasible.
Francine
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! It gives flesh to the skeleton (though substantial) to the life of Hildegard. The facts are right and the dialogue is just wonderful. I look forward to the next installment in this series.
Recommended for those who read historical fiction, lives of the saints and those who are devoted to Hildegard of Bingen, Doctor of the Church. She is a saint for all ages.
Jennifer
DNF, prose was too poor after reading Neal Stephenson I couldn't subject myself to such high schoolerish prose, sorry PK Adams :/

I had heard such good things about this but whoa, it was really badly written prose.
Karen York-fair
Very enjoyable read

I thoroughly enjoyed the writers style, the storyline and the historical biography. I look forward to reading the sequel, which is a continuation of her life story.
Piper Huguley
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent

I didn't know anything about Hildegarde but this wonderful novel does what great historical fiction does: make me want to learn more. The rich detail and the spirited nature of Hildegarde's life are highlights of this great story. I eagerly await the next installment.
Emunah
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mixed feelings about the historical liberties that necessarily have to be taken with fiction when so many biographical events are unknown, but the book certainly brings Hildegard of Bingen to life and I’ll eagerly read the sequel.
Peggi
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating, a good read

I just finished, and I'm looking forward to the continuation of this story. Well-written, researched and carefully edited. An interesting and captivating tale about a remarkable woman.



Karrie
Sep 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
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I am a Boston-based historical fiction author with a bachelor's degree from Columbia University and a master’s degree from Yale University. I am a life-long lover of history, and my goal is to bring stories of lesser-known historical figures and places to the attention of wider audiences. I have a blog where I share my writing journey, review historical fiction, host guest blogs from fellow ...more

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