Book Review: The Anchoress

Historical fiction normally isn’t my favourite genre but the title of this one got me in.

In the Middle Ages, a woman of exceptional piety could choose to go into voluntary life-long seclusion in a cell attached to a church. For the rest of her life she would live separated from the world and only communicating from behind a screen or curtain. Such a woman was called an anchoress and her cell an anchorhold.

It is hard for us to imagine such a life of self-imposed restriction in the name of seeking a deeper life with God.

This is a story that has little action apart from what goes on in the head of Sarah, a newly enclosed anchoress. Despite this it is strangely compelling, an insight into a world that is foreign to 21st century modernity.

This book is a real page turner leaving the reader wondering right up to the end, if Sarah would keep the course she has set for herself. Will she resist the powerful people around her? Will she remain faithful to her vow or seek to leave the anchorhold?

An excellent book.

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