NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!


Friday, August 14, 2009


by Sarah Dunant

"In 1570 Ferrara, Italy, a family slams their daughter, sixteen-year-old Serafina, into the Santa Caterina convent after they discover her embraced with an illicit lover. As counter-reformation forces push for change outside Santa Caterina's walls, inside the angry and passionate Serafina threatens the traditionalist foundation of the convent and its sisters." (From the CD container)

After how much I ended up loving In the Company of the Courtesan, I was very anxious to get my hands on Sarah Dunant's newest offering, Sacred Hearts. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to my expectations.

The premise was promising and Dunant's writing was as mesmerizing as I remember, but the story never grabbed hold of me. Learning about the lives of nuns and church/convent politics in 16th century Italy was most interesting, but there was something about the plot that felt simplistic beneath the grandeur of all the history. Once I got a couple of chapters into the book, I think I was hoping for the intensity of the movie Stigmata, and I'm disappointed that it never even came close. I realize that was a completely unrealistic expectation, but it's the one I had. I didn't dislike Sacred Hearts. It just wasn't as captivating as I had hoped it would be.

Other opinions:

Books and Movies
The Burton Review
A Girl Walks Into A Bookstore
Read Like Me


Jo-Jo said...

I don't think that you are alone with your thoughts on this book...I have read a couple of similar reviews.

Lezlie said...

Jo-Jo ~ That's good to know. I didn't read most of the reviews I ran across before I read it, because I wanted to let it speak for itself. I need to go back and find some of those again!


Serena said...

I haven't read this book, but it seems like a few people have had the same reaction. Guess I'll have to wait and see.

Lezlie said...

Serena ~ Unlike some others, I was not terribly fond of Dunant's book "The Birth of Venus". I'm wondering if those who prefered "Venus" to "Courtesan" may enjoy this one more also.


Meghan said...

I'm sorry to hear you didn't enjoy this one as much as you might have liked! I did prefer The Birth of Venus, so I guess we'll see if that is a factor when I read it.

Darlene said...

I've heard a few people who felt the same. I do have this in my stacks. Anyhow, sorry it was a dud for you especially when you have high hopes for something. Hope your next pick is much better.

Literary Feline said...

I am sorry this one turned out to be disappointing for you, Lezlie. I haven't read Courtesan but I did really like The Birth of Venus (which I see you didn't like so much). Maybe, if your theory holds true, I'll really like Sacred Hearts. I hope so, at least! :-)

bermudaonion said...

Darn, I was hoping this one would be captivating too.

Lezlie said...

Meghan & Literary Feline ~ I'm really interested in your reactions to Sacred Hearts if/when you read it. Especially if you've read Courtesan also and preferred Venus! It would be an interesting poll question to see if my theory holds any water at all.

Dar ~ I'm reading Nick Hornby's "The Polysyllabic Spree", and it's so fun that I've ordered the other two in this series!

Bermudaonion ~ For some, it is. I just wasn't one of them. Bummer. Are you planning to read it?


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I have this one (unread so far). Sorry it wasn't quite as good as you hoped.

Lezlie said...

Diane ~ If you review it in the future, let me know. I'll link yours here so people can see more opinions.


Anna said...

I'm sorry it didn't live up to your expectations. This one is on my shelf, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Diary of an Eccentric

Lezlie said...

Anna ~ I'm glad I'm not turning people off to it. I can't wait to see more reviews of it now that I've finished!


Teddy Rose said...

Sorry it didn't work for you. It is in my ARC stack to read and I hope to get to it soon.

Lezlie said...

Teddy Rose ~ When you get your review done, I'll link it here. I like having lots of other options for people explore when I didn't particularly like a book. I'd hate for someone who might end up loving it miss out!


Anonymous said...

I have this one sitting on my shelf. I just haven't gotten around to it yet. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Lezlie said...

Carols Notebook ~ It seems this one can easily go either way with people, so I'm hoping you love it! :-)