Mysteries lie at the heart of this novel and blend and weave throughout the tale of a missing altarpiece. Mysteries of faith are set against the longings of a woman’s heart. Mysteries of religion and politics take sides in a war against witchcraft with wisdom trapped in the middle. In classic style, this “wisdom” is a woman, Catherine, of unknown parentage, trained in healing, betrayed by the world’s rapid changing, and finding herself as she journeys to find the stolen treasure.
Henry VIII has broken with Rome and married a new wife. Lutherans and Papists are equally scorned, and reform is the cry of soldiers who steal and destroy. But the lord of this convent had his eyes on one valuable wooden altarpiece, and when murder follows on from theft, almost everyone could fall under suspicion. Catherine’s skills in medicine may heal the lord’s sick brother, but will her skills in reading people be enough to find the treasure and keep her safe?
Uncovering past present and future, the Catherine-who-follows becomes a Catherine ready to set out and lead. Meanwhile the reader enters a world of convincing people, authentic relationships, fascinating medical practices, and genuine history. The dissolution of the monasteries is the background for a deeply involving and beautifully revealing historical novel, where the characters genuinely belong to their time, and their natures belong to us all.
Disclaimer: I received a free ecopy of this novel from the publishers.