Lisa's Reviews > The Anchoress

The Anchoress by Robyn Cadwallader
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bookshelves: aussie-author-but-not-aussie-book, medieval-hist-fic, reviewed, historical-fiction-1100s
Read 2 times. Last read March 19, 2020 to March 20, 2020.

At only seventeen years of age, Sarah makes the decision to become an anchoress – to be sealed into a cell and become holy, isolated from the world outside. Hiding from the loss of her beloved baby sister in childhood, and the control and sexual aggression of her one-time love, Sarah intends to purge herself of sin. But she finds that though she may be sealed in a cell measuring seven paces by nine, she cannot shut the world out.

The Anchoress is a strangely gripping tale. You would not think a tale about a woman who spends her life in prayer and solitude would be so interesting. Yet it is to Robyn Cadwallader's credit that The Anchoress is a riveting story and is written deftly – gentle and poetic without being dull or overly literary.

There are some stress marks. Some of the supporting characters feel much like stock characters, undeveloped and merely there to fill a role, while others still feel like downright clichés – here, I think of Sir Thomas, Sarah's one time beau and later patron. At times, I felt the text need a bit of clarity – I felt confused on a couple of points, but that may have been the speed at which I read. Additionally, I felt Cadwallader was trying to make a point about the treatment of women during medieval times, but the message didn't quite hit hard enough for my liking.

Yet The Anchoress is a credit to Cadwallader's skill as a writer, a story that isn't perhaps as powerful as I wanted it to be, but still gripping, thoroughly enjoyable and, yes, lovely. 3.5 stars.

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Reading Progress

December 7, 2014 – Shelved
December 7, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
January 10, 2017 – Shelved as: aussie-author-but-not-aussie-book
February 1, 2017 – Started Reading
February 1, 2017 –
page 173
February 2, 2017 – Finished Reading
April 16, 2018 – Shelved as: medieval-hist-fic
April 30, 2018 – Shelved as: reviewed
March 19, 2020 – Started Reading
March 20, 2020 – Finished Reading
May 11, 2020 – Shelved as: historical-fiction-1100s

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