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Watermark: A Novel of the Middle Ages
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Watermark: A Novel of the Middle Ages

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  1,147 Ratings  ·  197 Reviews

The daughter of a papermaker in a small French village in the year 1320, mute from birth and forced to shun normal society, young Auda finds solace and escape in the wonder of the written word. Believed to be cursed by those who embrace ignorance and superstition, Auda's very survival is a testament to the strength of her spirit. But this is an age of Inquisition and into

Paperback, 1st, 331 pages
Published April 13th 2010 by Avon A (first published January 1st 2010)
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Jul 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
I felt this book had real potential in the beginning, but the author lacked the necessary skill to successfully weave the story and lead its characters to a satisfying conclusion. One of its most detrimental flaws was the lack of clear conflict, which was messy and muddled. The author also overlooked the opportunity to explore the relationship between Auda and Jaime, which felt pasted together for plot convenience. Ultimately, the bizarre motivation for the main character, Auda, throwing herself ...more
May 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010
This is obviously a first novel, with a very straightforward story devoid of sidelines or surprises. Auda is the daughter of a papermaker in the south of France in 1320. She is albino and mute, independent and observant; she and her father get dangerously mixed up with the Cathars and, inevitably, the Inquisition.

The milieu of this book--the world of middling tradesman in southern France during the Avignon papacy--is the best part. Even in this author's inexperienced hands, the outlines of the t
Amy Bruno
Feb 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
What a great year 2010 has been for historical fiction writer debuts! I have been really blown away by the shear awesomeness of these first timers and know that I will be reading them for years to come! And author Vanitha Sankaran is no exception.

Sankaran has painted an exquisite and beautiful tale about a mute Albino girl named Auda, who is the daughter of a papermaker in Narbonne, France in the 14th century. Born during a time of religious persecution and intense superstition, Auda’s afflictio
May 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
In Watermark by Vanitha Sankaran, Auda has the misfortune to be born an albino. Ruled by superstition and religious fanaticism, the midwife's helper decides to cut out Auda's tongue so that she won't spread any of the devil's lies. With this dramatic opening, Sankaran plunges us into the Dark Ages, a time in which being physically and intellectually different are considered dangerous.

As she grows up, Auda is sheltered by her father and sister, who fear that someday the villagers will blame their
Tara Chevrestt
Mar 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Jenny, Misfit
I guess I'm the first person not to be jumping up and down with joy after reading this novel, a story about a mute abino girl who is the daughter of papermaker in the middle ages, but here goes..

First, what I didn't like: Poncia, Auda's sister. If that woman wasn't already getting slapped around, I would have jumped in there and slapped her around myself. Her and her self rightousness had me cringeing throughout the reading of this. Also, despite fascinating facts regarding early papermaking (l
Jun 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Staci by: Author
Shelves: 2010-reads
My Thoughts: I found this book to be absorbing and amazingly imaginative. The Middle Ages come to life with the street fairs, the smells of the unwashed bodies, and the sights of the monks, self-flagellating priests, beggars, and the ones who don't want to be noticed. Aude had two strikes against her from birth: being mute (by force) and also having albino traits. Being her during this time would have been unnerving to say the least. She spends much of her life just trying to blend in and to not ...more
Lydia Presley
There were things I loved and things I didn't love about this book. I thought that Vanitha Sankaran did a wonderful job of setting up the story - the birth of Auda and death of her mother, Elena was heartbreaking and an eye-opening (if a bit predictable) method to open the story.

I loved the educational aspect of making paper and the way the story revolved around the tracts labeled as "heresy" and the connection that papermakers risked. I actually thought the historical aspect of this novel was t
Feb 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
I absolutely love strong women characters! This book was about a girl who, for a reason I won't reveal, was taught to read by her father who was a papermaker. She was born in the middle ages when women and commoners were not taught to read and when papermaking hadn't found it's foothold in Europe yet. It was a time when parchment was still being used by the Church and the nobles and when people were being tortured and killed because of heresy accusations.

The girl, Auda, who was different from b
Nov 30, 2010 rated it it was ok
I really need to stop reading books about the middle ages, because I latch onto the parts that aren't historically accurate and they ruin an entire book for me. With "Watermark," I couldn't get past the fact that the main character was 20 years old and her relatives kept saying that she was just getting to the age where she should be married. Huh??

Even though all of the details about paper making may have been well-researched (it's not something I know a ton about), couldn't Sankaran have done
May 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
This book has an amazing first half. I loved it. In chapter one I found myself aching to nurture and protect a newborn who had had her tongue cut out for being albino- a "devil child". You'll care for Auda from the start. Then the writing fell apart and I lost interest. The poor editing is is laughable, the hyper-focus on paper making is boring, the descriptive adultry scene is superfluous, as always. Lastly, Auda, spared from death and expected to do great things, doesn't do much beyond survivi ...more
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