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While not a conventional hagiography, this engaging novel depicts Teresa of Ávila as an extraordinary woman whose visions, church reform ideas and writing may well have been inspired by God. Mujica, a Georgetown University Spanish professor and two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, presents Teresa as a very human saint-in-the-making: by turns coquettish, self-loathing, desperately ill, politically masterful, blisteringly witty and, above all, God-obsessed. Though the events of Teresa's life, particularly her conversion and, later, her founding of the barefoot order of Carmelite nuns, are interesting, Mujica's fictional narrator, Sister Angelica, steals the show. Depicted as Teresa's maid who later becomes her best friend, Angelica becomes a nun when a potential husband rejects her because she knows how to read. Much to her delight, taking the veil transforms her from a humble member of the servant class to a respected medic who is often treated as well as an aristocrat. Angelica's down-to-earth narration is a good choice for the story of an overwrought saint, and her matter-of-fact description of the staggering realities of life in 16th-century Spain give the novel an earthy appeal. Despite the many ugly historical events, such as the Spanish Inquisition, that figure into the story, it is surprisingly light and entertaining. (Mar.)Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.