Customer Reviews for

The Altarpiece

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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  • Posted June 18, 2013

    I received a review copy of this book for free from Knox Publish

    I received a review copy of this book for free from Knox Publishing, and I was unbelievably excited to read it - a new Tudor historical fiction? Count me in!

    Unfortunately, to say I couldn't get into it is an understatement. I struggled from the very beginning, with nuns who swore, were petty & cruel to their fellow sisters, and were among the nastiest people I've ever read - yet they were supposed to be nuns, and good people? I'm not saying nuns aren't humans, don't make mistakes, and I'm sure they probably swear occasionally, too, but the cut-throat general meanness they shared? And what really bothers me is Kennedy could have written much the same story, but instead of calling them nuns, just called them townspeople, and the story would have been so much more believable.

    I just couldn't get beyond that. I even tried the skimming trick, thinking that once the book got going I would enjoy it more, but I just couldn't finish this book. Very disappointed.

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  • Posted April 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This book explores the relationship when Henry VIII breaks from

    This book explores the relationship when Henry VIII breaks from Rome to create the Church of England. He demands that all Catholic priests and nuns renounce their ties to the Pope and embrace his new religion. Catherine Havens, a young nun and healer, who lives in a small convent in Mount Grace faces the unimaginable when the King's soldiers come to Mount Grace to turn the nuns out of their abbey and to seize anything of value. The nuns try to hide as many valuables as they can and refuse to open the abbey doors to nobleman Lord Robert Overton and his soldiers when they come to claim their spoils.
    Catherine is torn. She's been at the abbey since infancy when Cristina took her in and raised her, but her real passion is the healing arts. When she nurses Robert's brother with the pox back to health, her loyalties and faith are severely tested. The story explores her struggle between her growing feelings for William and her loyalty to the prioress and her vows. The book is well researched and a host of secondary characters immerses the reader in what life was like in 1535 England. I did find the story a little slow in parts, but the character of Catherine is compelling and will keep you turning the pages.
    I received the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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  • Posted March 6, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Mysteries, history, longing and love: Mysteries lie at the heart

    Mysteries, history, longing and love:
    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.

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