Offered to the Church at the age of eight, Hildegard was expected to live in silent submission as the handmaiden of a renowned, disturbed young nun, Jutta von Sponheim. But Hildegard rejected Jutta's masochistic piety, rejoicing in her own secret visions of the divine. When Jutta died, Hildegard broke out of her prison, answering the heavenly call to speak and write about her visions and to liberate her sisters. Riveting and utterly unforgettable, Illuminations is a deeply moving portrayal of a woman willing to risk everything for what she believed.
Praise for Illuminations
"An enchanting beginning to the story of the perennially fascinating 12th-century mystic, Hildegard of Bingen. It is easy to paint a picture of a saint from the outside but much more difficult to show them from the inside. Mary Sharratt has undertaken this with sensitivity and grace."
—Margaret George, author of Mary, Called Magdalene
"I loved Mary Sharratt’s The Daughters of Witching Hill, but she has outdone herself with Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard Von Bingen. She brings one of the most famous and enigmatic women of the Middle Ages to vibrant life in this tour de force, which will captivate the reader from the very first page."
—Sharon Kay Penman, author of the New York Times bestseller Time and Chance
"I love Mary Sharratt. The grace of her writing and the grace of her subject combine seamlessly in this wonderful novel about the amazing, too-little-known saint, Hildegard of Bingen, a mystic and visionary. Sharratt captures both the pain and the beauty such gifts bring, as well as bringing to life a time of vast sins and vast redemptions."
—Karleen Koen, author of Before Versailles and the best-selling Through a Glass Darkly
Illuminations is a novel about Hildegard von Bingen, a woman who lived in the 11th century who had the gift of prophetic visions. Sickly, she was the tenth child in a large family. At the age of 8, her mother gave her as an oblate to a young woman who desired to be an anchorite, Jutta von Sponheim. Together, the two were sealed in a corner of a monastery to live a pious life. Under Jutta’s tutelage, Hildegard is taught to read and write, tend a small garden, and interpret the Bible. Hildegard was forced to watch the extreme and zealously obsessive religious behaviour of Jutta. All the while, she experiences visions which are visitations from the Virgin Mary. At first, no one believes her visions and they are treated with skepticism. So Hildegard kept her visions a secret, but wrote about them and their meaning in a journal.
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About Mary Sharratt
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