Sunday 26 July 2009

Review: The Saint and the Fasting girl by Anna Richenda

The Saint and The Fasting Girl by Anna Richenda

Published: June 2009
Genre: Historical
Pages: 344

SISTER GEORGIA LIVES AT THE CENTER of a bustling Yorkshire nunnery at the eve of the English Reformation. Yet she is no ordinary nun. Georgia and her sisters follow the ways of the legendary Saint Isela, recording her signs and miracles and preparing for her return.

But the archbishop of London, Philip SeVerde, a man rising in Henry VIII’s royal court, cannot bear this ‘wild’ nunnery of the north. Driven by greed and a lust for power, SeVerde demands that the nuns submit to his control and strict monastic rule. Georgia is persecuted and tortured, yet she refuses to back down.

Drawing strength and visions from an ancient relic, Georgia must ensure that her mystical group of nuns survive the meddling of the corrupt archbishop. She must undergo an epic journey and endure, lifetime after lifetime, until the promise of Saint Isela can be fulfilled.
(Author's site)

I received this book from the author.

I do like to read different sorts of books, and therefore this one looked interesting. But when I got it I got scared for a moment that it would be overly religious, but luckily for me it wasn't. This was about the saints, religious intolerance and things connecting to that. But still not about all things religion or even mentioning a few things, well names books can.

First thing I did, well to see if there was any truth to the story since I am very curious. No saint Isela thought, but the funny thing was that I stumbled upon one saint that I had come across in another book some days earlier. And by knowing that fact it did make me feel like I understood the story more.

This is not your average historical book, it's all about the nuns who follow the way of Saint Isela and waiting for the day she will reborn with them. Life after life the Bearer is reborn to guide the way of the Chooser. The Bearer is always Georgia.

This was a sad book to read at times, it was horrible the things done to catholic nuns and monks at that time, rape, violence, torture, death. This is shown in the book and it's not an easy read Some things did make me cringe. And I have no idea how they suffered through it.

Georgia is a strong woman with strong beliefs. She will do absolutely anything to see the promise fulfilled and see Isela with them again. The strange thing is that I am pretty neutral about her for the first half of the book, I can't say what happens but it surprised me more than anything. And then I find myself liking her. She is stronger in some way, and I can connect more to her.

There are a bunch of other side characters here too, like Lo, who I would cry for, a bunch of nuns, and the bad guy Philip SeVerde. He is I didn't like, but there was someone worse, I shall not mention it because the reader will see that for themselves. But he is horrible. There are dark characters, light ones, and those in between. They can shift and that is a good thing.

One thing that I didn't expect was a bit of romance, just a tiny bit, but enough to make me smile among all the sadness that came over me at one point.

What was interesting about this book was to see how Henry IIIV's divorce and marriage to Anne Boleyn changed the church and what happened to those who thought differently. Truly from the inside

received a copy for a review


  1. I think we would all be appalled if we truly knew how much abuse monks and nuns endured in history. This books sounds pretty interesting. I'm glad that it wasn't overly religious, as those have a way of turning me off. Excellent review!

  2. sounds fascinating! thanks for hte review!

  3. Staci,
    It would have turned me off too. The story would have gotten lost.
    But yes I am sure we all would be appalled.
    A different read from that time instead of all the books there are about Henry and his wives

    It did made me want to read more historicals again, always a good thing :)

  4. I like historicals, but I don't tend to pick them first. I normally only read them when I can't find anything else. I am not sure if this one would be for me, but you have written a really good review.

  5. Diane,

    Scrap girl,
    Historicals are not for everyone, I on the other hand see one and pics it up. I am not that keen on picking up contemporary ones, well there are exceptions like chick-lit, and a bunch of others.

  6. I remember when you first mentioned this book I was interested in it. After your review I'm even more so. I think though that it was one I couldn't find here. I'll have to look again. It certainly sounds like a fascinating story and one I'd really like.

  7. Great review! I'm curious about this book too and I think I have it added to my wishlist. It certainly is a different view on things during that time period (I don't read much about the clergy for fear or overbearing religious tones.)

  8. a great review and a book i think i have to read. having read and seen movies of the time, i know it was also a bit gory too....i mean drawing and quartering and putting head on pikes...uck...i would want to live then but i do like the history of it all.

  9. Dar,
    Hm, it's just out so perhaps that is the case. Or that they don't have it in Canada yet since it was published in England.
    A very different read for me.

    Same with me, you never know how much the book will be preaching for one thing. Here it was just about this one saint that is not real. And I liked that dimension. Certainly a different view on a period of time that authors sure love to write about.

    Well they did behead Anne Boleyn, so I should have expected it. Heads on pikes, burning people and all that. Oh and don't forget hangings.
    It was a turbulent time and it had to be shown

  10. Hi Blodeuedd!

    I've read some historicals that deal with the death and destruction of that time period. It was brutal, even to the point of grotesque at times. The way people had to live and were treated. It sure sounds like an interesting read though.

    Dottie :)

  11. Hi Dottie,
    Luckily this wasn't that spelled out, there was brutality but not too much. Because it can sometimes be too hard to read.
    I would not have liked to live then

  12. I received this book, too. Sounds like a good one. Glad to see you thought so.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  13. Anna,
    I hope you like it, my fav was the romance'll see ;)



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