Monday, September 29, 2014

The Novice by Mirella Sichirollo Patzer

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Read: September 26, 2014

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. 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.

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Have I been living under a rock? All things considered it's a very distinct possibility, but I ask because despite having a slew of titles to her name, The Novice marks my first experience with author Mirella Sichirollo Patzer.

I fell for this piece almost from the first. Even before I got to know the characters or understood direction of the story, I was overcome by Patzer's mastery of language and prose. There's something intoxicating about it, an artistry that draws you in and settles in the back of your mind. The atmospheric quality of the novel is equally appealing. I'm not overly familiar with 10th century Naples, but I had no problem envisioning Sara's world. 

Speaking of Sara, I have to note the complexity in her character. Patzer built a passionate fire in her heroine, a romantic and devoted spirit who defied my expectation and the truly captivated my imagination. An intensely sympathetic individual, Sara faces choices I could never understand, but Patzer's presentation made her profoundly relatable nonetheless. 

A beautiful if somewhat predictable piece, The Novice is a brilliant example of lyrical and ornate composition. Highly recommended. 

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Happiness is often subtle. Reason and melancholy can easily overpower dreams. Love and justice often battle each other in a man’s thoughts. So it was with him. At first, love prevailed. Whenever he thought of her, his soul would shimmer like moon-rippled water. When she looked at him, the very pillars of his manhood seemed to quake. When she passed by him, light-footed, from garden to portico, she arrived like a burst of sunlight, bringing rays of warmth into his soul, onto his wounded flesh. Then he recalled other musings less pleasant, but equally as important. The woman was a nun. He must keep his desires leashed and renounce any feelings for her. If he did not quell his ardor for this bride of Christ, he would come to rue the day. No man may long for a nun. It was a grave sin. 
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Check Out All the Stops on Mirella Sichirollo Patzer's The Novice Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 29
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, September 30
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Interview at Triclinium – Elisabeth Storrs
Wednesday, October 1
Guest Post at Book Babe
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Obsession
Thursday, October 2
Review & Giveaway at The Book Binder’s Daughter
Interview & Giveaway at Historical Romance Lover
Friday, October 3
Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection
Monday, October 6
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Tuesday, October 7
Review at Unshelfish
Wednesday, October 8
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry
Thursday, October 9
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Friday, October 10
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Guest Post at Keely Brooke Keith

1 comment:

Mirella Sichirollo Patzer said...

Hello Erin,
I'm so glad you enjoyed the novel and am grateful for the lovely review! I am so glad that you hosted me here. It's such a lovely blog. Many thanks, you made my day!