In 1896, a priest in southern France suddenly gained immense wealth. This much is historically true-but no one knows where the money came from. At his death, the priest's secret was buried with him. But there was a young woman-his housekeeper and lover, Marie Dénarnaud-who may have known the truth.
Marie Dénarnaud is only a girl when the charismatic priest Bérenger first captivates her. As a woman, she becomes his housekeeper and struggles with guilt over their illicit relationship. But as their affection deepens, Bérenger grows secretive, and Marie has to learn why. What she discovers is a shocking secret that she becomes responsible for concealing.
|Publisher:||Penguin Group (USA)|
|Product dimensions:||5.76(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.27(d)|
|Age Range:||14 Years|
About the Author
Amy Hassinger is a graduate of Barnard College and the Iowa Writer's Workshop, where she studied with Marilynne Robinson and Frank Conroy. She teaches in the University of Nebraska's MFA in Creative Writing.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In 1884 sixteen years old religious skeptic Marie Dernanaud and her family move to the nearby village of Rennes-le-Chateau when their home burned down. At about the same time Father Berenger Sauniere takes over the town parish. Berenger is a family friend having met Marie for instance when she was nine. Though fifteen plus years older than her, she found him fascinating then and even more so now as a teen he reciprocates her feelings. However both hide their feelings for one another behind religious debates especially since he temporally lives with her and her family while the townsfolk renovate the church. --- The fixing up of the church leads to uncovering a tome, a map and a strange ancient stone carving. Excited and encouraged by the mayor's wife, Simone Laporte, Marie investigates the enigmatic artifacts found buried deep inside the church. She begins to trace a possible descent from a relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene while her beloved priest sells them out for shekels. --- This is a fascinating thriller that is at its best when Marie investigates the church mysteries, but loses some steam with too many subplots including a deep look at a Jesus-Mary relationship and the seemingly always Templar effect. The change over time of Berenger from idealistic charismatic believer to dishonest skeptic is deftly handled while the opposite happens with Marie. The deep look at first century Judea is also excellent, but with all this going on, Marie is overwhelmed though she is the center holding the tale together. Still fans will enjoy this Christian historical mystery. ---Harriet Klausner