Customer Reviews for

Sacred Hearts

Average Rating 3.5
( 64 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(12)

4 Star

(24)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(6)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Habits off ...

Sacred Hearts is the latest novel by Sarah Dunant. Set in a convent in Renaissance Italy, Ms. Dunant paints a revealing picture of a nun's life during the latter half of the sixteenth century. In a time when young women were subject to the will of their fathers, one's o...
Sacred Hearts is the latest novel by Sarah Dunant. Set in a convent in Renaissance Italy, Ms. Dunant paints a revealing picture of a nun's life during the latter half of the sixteenth century. In a time when young women were subject to the will of their fathers, one's options were limited. Either you married who was selected for you or you joined a convent - neither choice is very appealing.
-----
The novel revolves around Serafina, a defiant young lady who is forced into religious servitude, and Suora Zuana, the dispensary mistress who was also an unwilling addition to convent life. From the start of Serafina's incarceration, the relationship that develops between these two women is one of trust, betrayal and survival. We watch as they navigate through religious dogma and convent politics. Ms. Dunant has brought them to life - we cannot help but feel for them through their struggles and triumphs, when their hopes are dashed, when they give up their dreams, when they accept their fate, .... I know that I am grateful that I did not live in during that time period.
-----
The writing kept me interested and the plot is filled with drama and intrigue. I was hooked from the beginning and wanted to know what would happen next to these two women. I highly recommend to those who have read previous works of Sarah Dunant and to those who like historical fiction.
-----
Thank you to LibraryThing and Random House for this ARE.

posted by CathyB on June 21, 2009

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Interesting history in Sacred Hearts

I bought this after hearing the NPR interview. I was mostly interested in how she tied in the convent history to a plausible story. Dunant did a great job of tying her research into a story that could have happened. I was entertained while learning about where the ...
I bought this after hearing the NPR interview. I was mostly interested in how she tied in the convent history to a plausible story. Dunant did a great job of tying her research into a story that could have happened. I was entertained while learning about where the less desirable daughters went, convents, medicine and mores of the time.

posted by VALADY on September 26, 2009

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 13 review with 3 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1
  • Posted September 26, 2009

    Interesting history in Sacred Hearts

    I bought this after hearing the NPR interview. I was mostly interested in how she tied in the convent history to a plausible story. Dunant did a great job of tying her research into a story that could have happened. I was entertained while learning about where the less desirable daughters went, convents, medicine and mores of the time.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A historically accurate, if slow, novel of convent life in Renaissance Italy

    Sarah Dunant, author of In the Company of the Courtesan: A Novel and The Birth of Venus: A Novel, brings us the lives of cloistered nuns in Sacred Hearts. Set in 1570 Ferrara, Sacred Hearts follows the paths of two very different women: the gentle, inquisitive Suora Zuana, who runs the dispensary and is in charge of the convent's medicinal gardens, and Serafina, a fiery sixteen-year-old incarcerated against her will after a tryst with a music teacher. Many of the women in the Santa Caterina convent entered the convent because of physical or mental disability, illicit romances, or simply because of the exorbitant dowries demanded by the era.

    The intricate social hierarchy of the convent is drawn out in detail, as are the numerous "overlooked" forbidden items such as makeup, mirrors, and other worldly symbols of vanity. The exacting schedule of prayers creates the daily order of the nuns' lives, embellished by the rare performance or concert for the convent's benefactors. The abbess, Madonna Chiara, has spent nearly her whole life within the convent's walls, but has a wisdom and grace that reach far beyond her limited experience with the outside world.

    The abbess has her hands full dealing with several complicated issues: the elderly, barely alive Suora Magdalena sees visions, which drives the young novices into a frenzy. Suora Umiliana seeks to usurp the abbess's position by scourging the convent from ungodly influences and encourages harsh fasting and visions. And Serafina rages and lashes out against her confinement, trying to be reunited with Jacopo. Zuana treats Serafina like the daughter she will never possess.

    Zuana is the main narrator, and she is an interesting figure: she only entered the convent because she was ill-suited for marriage, and despite a rich education in herbal medicine and anatomy from her father, as a woman she could never attend a university. She put her father's herbal cures to use, and is guided by his voice. She admits to never having religious visions, and knows that she does not pray as often as she should, but she finds comfort in the spirituality of nature. Serafina's rebellious nature is a challenge to her, even though it seems that the girl has promise as an assistant. Zuana finds herself softening, bending rules that she never would have questioned before. Serafina undergoes an apparently miraculous transformation from rebellious spitfire to docile penitent. The novel also highlights the dark realities of religious hysteria (miracles, stigmata, voluntary starvation and self-harm to bring on visions) that plagued convents.

    Despite the rich layers of detail that bring the austere convent life into sharp focus, Sacred Hearts was a very slow read and I almost put it down for good on several occasions. Time slows to a crawl during the lengthy segments dealing with illness and the prescribed herbal remedies, Serafina's drug-induced hallucinations and physical torments, and religious politics. Normally, I'm a huge fan of historical fiction (historical art fiction in particular), but Sacred Hearts just didn't hold my attention.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 13 review with 3 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1