The Novice: A Love Story by Mirella Sichirollo Patzer
Publication Date: September 15, 2014
Formats: eBook, Paperback; 380p
Genre: Historical Fiction/Historical Romance
Source: This book was given to me by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour in exchange for an honest review.
A young woman on the verge of taking her vows to become a nun.
A desperate flight from a murderous massacre.
One honorable man comes to her rescue.
Another becomes her nemesis and captor.
And a life and death search to reunite with her one true love.
Synopsis: In 10th century Naples, Saracens run rampant, annihilating villages, murdering women and children. Death and despair is everywhere. Alone in the world, Sara is a young novice plagued with doubts about taking her final vows to become a nun. When her convent is attacked, she flees for her life straight into the arms of a group of Saracens who leave her to die alone in the woods. An honorable cavaliere named Nicolo comes to her rescue and offers to take her to the safety of Naples. As they journey together, they are irresistibly drawn to each other. Believing Sara to be a nun, the honorable Nicolo is torn between love and duty to respect her vows. Heartbroken, he does what honor demands and sets her free before she can tell him the truth that she is not a nun. In her search to reunite with Nicolo, she encounters Umberto, a dark and dangerous man who will stop at nothing in his obsession to possess her. With her sharp intellect, and her heart, Sara must rely on her own courage and strength to escape her abuser and find the only man she will ever love. A story that burns with intensity, intrigue, and passion from the author of the highly successful novel, Orphan of the Olive Tree.
My Review: Sara is a novice who has not yet taken her final vows. Her life was changed when she and a group of nuns ran away before a group of Saracens destroyed her village. On the run, with the Saracens in hot pursuit, Sara decides to be the diversion while the others nuns flee to safety. However, she was rescued by a mysterious knight in shining armor. The knight and Sara soon fall in love, but because Sara lied to him about being a nun, the chivalrous knight leaves her almost as soon as they approach Naples. Sara decides to live with her uncle and cousin, and soon catches the eye of the evil Count Umberto. In order to find happiness Sara is on the hunt to find her mysterious knight. Will Sara and her knight ever be reunited or is Sara bound to be the wife of Count Umberto?
I found the setting of 10th century Italy to be beautifully written. Sara and her knight met and fall in love during a great tragedy. This shows that while there are cruel events that happen in the world, there is also good. For while bad things happen, people should also focus on the good things that happen in life. I also loved how she described the countryside and the woods. The rustic atmosphere symbolizes freedom and liberation. Whereas the city and the convent symbolizes oppression, constraint, subjection, and incarceration.
Sara is a strong-heroine. She is passionate and is often described as wild and hard to control. She is her own self and makes her own decisions. She is also faithful to her love. She is a good judge of character. She has a good heart. Sara can be selfless too. She is also persistent, determined, and never gives up. Sara is also wise, calm, and cunning. She does not let emotions get in the way of her planning. She sees the problem and comes up with a solution. Also, even when she confronts many obstacles, Sara always gets back up.
Overall, this story is about love, loss, regrets, and hopes. The message of the book is to be honest with the person you love or you may end up losing that person forever. It is also about not giving up, even in the face of adversity. The book is beautifully written and the characters are well-developed. However, there is one or two instances of profanity. I recommend this book to anyone interested in Italy and strong heroines. This love story is also a good inspiration for women who are being abused and is searching for their quest in happiness. For if Sara, who in the middle ages was abused by a powerful nobleman, was able to find happiness, then surely you can too.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
About the Author
A true blue Taurean in every way, Mirella Sichirollo Patzer grew up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, a city famous for the Calgary Stampede, oil companies, and the wild west. Historical fiction books are one of her obsessions, especially those that pertain to medieval eras and with Italy as a backdrop. Her fascination for women of history and Italy is often reflected in her work, her various blogs, and website. She lives in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada with her husband and family. Her house is brimming with books and toys. For her, life couldn’t get any better.
For more information please visit Mirella's website. Mirella also blogs at History and Women & Historical Novel Review. Connect with Mirella on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest.