Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant

Sacred Hearts (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Sarah Dunant

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,3201155,899 (3.83)139
Title:Sacred Hearts
Authors:Sarah Dunant
Info:Virago Press Ltd (2009), Edition: Export ed, Hardcover, 480 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant (2009)

  1. 10
    Cry to Heaven by Anne Rice (kraaivrouw)
  2. 00
    Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth (charl08)
    charl08: Similar theme Italy, forced entry to a convent and women's battle for independence.
  3. 00
    The Sixteen Pleasures by Robert Hellenga (VenusofUrbino)
  4. 00
    The Miracles of Prato [MIRACLES OF PRATO] [Hardcover] by Laurie Albanese (saratoga99)
    saratoga99: Another example of once wealthy families without sufficent dowries who sent daughters to convents.
  5. 00
    Mariana by Katherine Vaz (Sakerfalcon)
    Sakerfalcon: Another historical tale of a woman who enters a convent against her will. Mariana is set in Portugal, and is based on possible historical fact.
  6. 00
    Lying Awake by Mark Salzman (derelicious)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 139 mentions

English (114)  Dutch (2)  All (116)
Showing 1-5 of 114 (next | show all)
Closer to 3.5 stars. This story was slow and tedious. It was a solid 3 until the last 100 pages or so when it finally began to pick-up and become interesting. ( )
  Heather_Brock | Nov 23, 2016 |
I read this book a while ago and remember enjoying it. ( )
  Nataliec7 | Oct 31, 2016 |
This was an interesting piece of historical fiction. There was a period of time during which large numbers of women were forcibly locked up in convents , against their will, because it was too expensive to marry off more than one daughter. Additionally, there was a clamp down on nuns' ability to have contact with the outside world. The happy ending seemed improbable, but otherwise it was a well written story. ( )
  hemlokgang | Jul 23, 2016 |
I thought this book was very well written,I had selected it because I had seen it recommended on the waterstones website and had really enjoyed The Birth Of Venus. I felt that she really gave you a good insight into what life was like for women in the 16th century and what life was like in a convent then.

What I learned from this book is that I'm really glad I wasn't a woman in 16th century Italy,or anywhere else for that matter as I don't suppose the situation was any better for women in the rest of the world.

Basically it all boils down to you are my daughter therefore you are my property and I can do what I like,if that means marrying you to the most hideous man available or forcing you into a convent then that is the way it's going to be. ( )
  KarenDuff | Jun 1, 2016 |
Sacred Hearts – Sarah Dunant
Audio version by Rosalyn Landor
4 stars

A surprising amount of intrigue and drama can take place inside the walls of a 16th century Italian convent. The convent of Santa Caterina in Ferrara is hive of activity. The emotional outbursts of the newest novice disturb the convent’s peace,while the religious and political repercussions of the counter reformation threaten convent traditions from within and without. As the dispensary mistress, Suora Zuana is charged with the responsibility for Novice Serafina’s health and emotional well-being. The Abbess, Madonna Chiara has the responsibility for maintaining the convent’s reputation and the delicate balance conventional life.

I would not make a very good nun. Like Serafina, I’d find it impossible to view the convent as anything other than a prison. Sarah Dunant does a very good job of presenting another perspective. The historical detail of this book is very rich. Although it is set entirely within the convent walls, Dunant gives a clear picture of Italian life outside the enclosure. The lives of women are constrained outside the convent as well as inside. Madonna Chiara is engaged in a subtle fight for those freedoms still allowed within the convent walls. She will not allow one unhappy novice to interfere with the convent’s viability. Suara Zuana takes a physician’s view and places the well-being of her patient above other considerations. The resolution of the conflict made me smile; unlikely, but satisfying.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 114 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Before the screaming starts, the night silence of the convent is already alive with its own particular sounds.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Publisher series
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
In 16th-century Italy, the convents are filled with the daughters of noblemen who are unable or unwilling to pay a dowry to marry them off. The Santa Caterina convent's newest novice, Serafina, is miserable, having been shunted off by her father to separate her from a forbidden romance. She also has a singing voice that will be the glory of the convent and—more importantly to some—a substantial bonus for the convent's coffers. The convent's apothecary, Suora Zuana, strikes up a friendship with Serafina, enlisting her as an assistant in the convent dispensary and herb garden, but despite Zuana's attempts to help the girl adjust, Serafina remains focused on escaping. Serafina's constant struggle and her faith (of a type different from that common to convents) challenge Zuana's worldview and the political structure of Santa Caterina. A cast of complex characters breathe new life into the classic star-crossed lovers trope while affording readers a look at a facet of Renaissance life beyond the far more common viscounts and courtesans. Dunant's an accomplished storyteller, and this is a rich and rewarding novel.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

The year is 1570, and in the convent of Santa Caterina, in the Italian city of Ferrara, noblewomen find space to pursue their lives under God's protection. But any community, however smoothly run, suffers tremors when it takes in someone by force. And the arrival of Santa Caterina's new novice sets in motion a chain of events that will shake the convent to its core.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alum

Sarah Dunant's book Sacred Hearts was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Sign up to get a pre-publication copy in exchange for a review.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
37 avail.
93 wanted
2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.83)
1 8
1.5 2
2 18
2.5 7
3 65
3.5 35
4 175
4.5 32
5 71

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,259,032 books! | Top bar: Always visible