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The Column of Burning Spices

(Hildegard of Bingen #2)

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  243 ratings  ·  36 reviews

In The Column of Burning Spices, part two of the Hildegard of Bingen series which began with The Greenest Branch, the medieval era comes vividly to life in all its romanticism and splendor. However, the societal strictures that prevent women from being able to access education and live independent lives are also on display.

The year is 1143. Hildegard, already a well-know
Kindle Edition, 369 pages
Published February 1st 2019 by Iron Knight Press (first published January 29th 2019)
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Rosie Amber
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Column Of Burning Spices is book two of the Hildegard of Bingen series. Hildegard is regarded as Germany’s first physician; this book takes place in the twelfth century.

A little historic background: the Catholic Church continued with the power struggles between the papacy and the secular rulers of the Holy Roman Empire. During the time of this book, the dispute was over who had the right to appoint Bishops; it caused a civil war.

At the Abbey of St. Disibod, Hildegard’s success as a physicia
Jena Henry
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Who is this woman who rises out of the wilderness like a column of smoke from burning spices?”

This memorable line from this well-crafted and researched historical novel reminded me of the verse from Isaiah, “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (Isaiah 40:30).” And in many ways, Hildegard of Bingen was a person of Biblical proportion.

Readers were introduced to Hildegard in the first book of the series.
Deena L Hogue
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Amazing book! The second book was as good as the first. The author lent life to a woman out of Catholic history. Saint Hildegard has now become one of my favorite saints.
Paula Butterfield
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This novel continues the story of Hildegard, the anchoress to whom we were introduced in The Greenest Branch. In the second part of her story, we find her working to fulfill the promise she made to Juliana, an anchoress she’d known since entering the abbey as a child who, on her deathbed, exhorts Hildegard:

Do not let them stop you! Do not be held back by the petty attacks of those
who have neither the courage nor the imagination to go beyond the narrow
rules to which they are bound.

Most of al
Gilli Cohen
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful. An excellent conclusion to the duology.
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The Column of Burning Spices is the second in PK Adams’s duology about the renowned medieval holy woman, Hildegard of Bingen. This picks up right where the first book left off and covers the latter part of Hildegard’s life, when she was writing and creating the works for which she is most well known.

Where the first book had given Hildegard an interesting background and a plausible history that filled in gaps in the historical record, this second book continued with what is k
David Dupuis
Oct 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As I was researching Hildegard of Bingen for my own historical-fiction series, "The Seven Keys of Hildegard," I happened across "The Column of Burning Spices" by author P. K. Adams. I am so glad I did. In this second of a two-book series, the author brings Hildegard exquisitely to life. The story unfolds in the first-person and we get to see and feel Hildegard's life and world in Germany through her own eyes as she experiences the last half of her life beginning in 1143. I could not put this boo ...more
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
The fight continues and I am backing Hildegard. I just love this historical series with a female protagonist who is calm, rational and assertive. Escape to the lush fields and trickling streams of medieval Germany with this new novel by P.K. Adams.

In the first book, Hildegard is sent to a convent and begins her apprenticeship in the infirmary. We were introduced to her independent spirit and fierce loyalty. In this second book, she needs all of this and more when she plans to set up a separate
Oct 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I had a fair amount of reading time available and sped through this on in just 3 days. This continues the story, mostly from the physician aspect of Hildegard of Bingen's lifetime.

Three parts of the book are still here with me the most, as I've just finished it. First, when a flood happens nearby to where she is able to start her own foundation, she has a conversation with a person about how destruction of the nearby forest has contributed to the river flooding the area. Secondly, there is a de
Linda kenney
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Another deeply moving novel of Hildegard of Bingen! A must read for fans of historical fiction. Extremely well researched with excerpts from Hildegard's own writings and letters, it's wonder fully written exploring her deep friendships,her faith and her strength as a woman in a male dominated church. She comes to life on the page and moved me to tears. I highly recommend this book!

I absolutely loved this book! Her struggles, challenges and losses over the course of her life were both moving and
Lori Frank
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderfully Absorbing!

I love history but am not comfortable in medieval times. The impression I had of the suffocating actions of the Catholic Church, the plague, the poverty and suffering of the peasant seemed too depressing. This story, however, described all that but made medieval life real in a pleasant way, and has opened in me an avid interest in St. Hildegard as someone so blessed and unique that I need to find out more about her! It is unbelievable and unjust that history forgot her. Exc
Scott Edward Cochran
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read in a long time

Very well researched and constructed historical fiction. The heroine is engaging and inspiring, and I could not wait to see what amazing thing she would do next. Because of the thoroughness of the author's research, events can be surprising but still make sense, and she fleshed things out with context throughout so that struggles are emphasized and triumphs are fully appreciated.
If you are a lover of historical fiction with strong female protagonist
Joan Barden
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful historical biography with some fiction added to make the story more compelling. And it works. I was kept enthralled the whole time I read the book. It is very well researched and manages to catch the feel of the times to take you there on a journey of discovery. I have always been interested in history but knew little of the time and place covered in this book. I also know nothing about medieval church history. I learned a lot and enjoyed the book immensely. I didn't realize ...more
Nicholas Finch
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
After thoroughly enjoying the first installment of this story, I was eager for the second.

It doesn't disappoint. The author has done an outstanding job of research and writing throughout.

For a moment however, I thought dear Hildegard was about to turn into Ellis Peter's infamous Cadfael!

But that aside, I have to confess I got so caught up in the characters written about so very well here, that I suffered some serious demolition of the upper lip by the time I reached the end.

Very well done. Excep
Andrea Fisher
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
An excellent book, although I would have loved the author to delve more deeply into St. Hildegard's spiritual journey and a little less into her political exploits, which were admittedly abundant and impressive. As doctor of the Church, I know her insights, a very few of which are shared in this book, would be edifying. I think the author was more intent on emphasizing Hildegard's power in a patriarchal world than the spiritual mysteries she elucidated, which have lasted nearly 800 years. Nevert ...more
Karen York-Fair
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Deeply motivating

I thoroughly enjoyed these two books! Learning of Hildegard‘s life-struggles as well as her many victories at such a time when women were not allowed the freedom to be educated let alone recognized for their achievements was inspiring. How sad it is that her battle has never really been won over the chasms, dissents and corruption of “the Church” even after these many centuries!
Tom Strickler
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book about an extraordinary woman.

St Hildegard of Bingen was a Benedictine abbess engaged in medicine, writing and music. She opened a convent to provide healing using botanical medicines to local townspeople. She overcame inequality and discrimination often experience d by women during the middle ages. Her defiance of corrupt church hierarchy was a testament to her courage and conviction.
Dec 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
This second historical fiction book about Hildegard von Bingen was not as good as the first. I found it to be less interesting as far as the characters, the description of nature and the use of physics for healing. The storyline began to become mostly factual and bogged down halfway through the book. The politics of the church that the Abbess was involved with (which are historical fact) became tiresome to read after a while. I credit Adams with having done her research very well.
Helen Hollick
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book has received a Discovering Diamonds Review:
Helen Hollick
founder #DDRevs

"I enjoyed how the relationships between Hildegard and others were developed. Volmar, who was her confessor in reality, was given a deeper place in her life. It is not part of the historical record, but the way it was written was believable and within the scope of acceptable behavior for a Benedictine nun. "
Brook Allen
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This second book in P.K. Adams's brilliant duology on Hildegard of Bingen was in every regard as meaty and readable as the first. Adams has an enormous amount of biography to cover, but does so in a relaxed and informative fashion. Bravo on depicting the life of this extraordinary woman. I was most impressed! ...more
Marilyn Pemberton
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful second book on the life of Hildegard of Bingen and it met all my expectations, having thoroughly enjoyed the first book, The Greenest Branch. P.K. Adam's imagination is awe inspiring and she immerses the reader so well in the life and times of Hildegard. It is hard coming out of living in the 12th century back to the 21st! Highly Recommended - a great read. ...more
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Worthy conclusion to the series about Hildegard of Bingen

I enjoyed the humanity of the protagonist and the real feeling for her life. Although Hildegard was mystical in nature she was also pragmatic as I would expect a physician and abbess to be. It is easy to forget the struggle and conflict that a worthy life can encompass.
linda lipinski
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle-to-read
A fascinating book as good as the first book

Hildegard of bingen is an ambitious woman and an excellent physician , writer and composer of songs

I really enjoyed the book and the history of it

An excellent read
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful second book about a brilliant woman in the Middle Ages who overcame many obstacles. Hildegard is a fascinating person and this and the book preceding it narrates her life as well as that period in history.
Well worth the read!!! Gave a very human spin on a saint.
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing

An absolutely fantastic book. This book is best read after reading The Greenest Branch, but that too is a fantastic story. I highly recommend both books. They are to be savored and enjoying.
Kathleen Roy
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazing woman physician and Christian

I greatly enjoyed the fabulous character development intertwined with rich historical material. I will be recommending these two books to others.
Sandi De
May 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Column of Burning Spice

P.K. Adams has written a great sequel to her historical novel about Hildegarde of Bingin. She has done a masterful job, it held my attention and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
sharon ingram
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love this book

I just finished this book and my eyes are still wet. Would never have guessed, in the Middle Ages no less, that such an outspoken woman existed in the Catholic church. Read these two books, particularly if you love the Middle Ages as I do, and a great love story.
Oct 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is a fascinating story of the second half of the life of Abbess Hildegard. Beautifully written, based on history, with some fictionalized account, the book captures the story of a courageous woman, who is both a doctor and an abbess.

Well-worth reading.
Dec 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating view of pre-reformation church & role of women

as well as medical practice at that time.

I had never heard of Hildegard before this book. Well-written and researched.

I will look for more by this author
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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 author ...more

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Hildegard of Bingen (2 books)
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