Lisa's Reviews > The Anchoress

The Anchoress by Robyn Cadwallader
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's review
Feb 21, 2017

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bookshelves: historical-fiction, aussie-author-but-not-aussie-book, aww2017
Read from February 01 to 02, 2017

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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12/07 marked as: to-read
02/01 marked as: currently-reading
02/02 marked as: read
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