Sarah Dunant is well known for her Italian Renaissance novels the Birth of Venus and In the company of the Courtesan-what YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THESE BOOKS!!! Well you should! Incidentally The Birth of Venus was the VERY FIRST book review I ever did!! I just reread it and I was apparently not as in love with it as I remember...but I think that's because it reminded me of another book I had just read, so that isn't actually Dunant's fault :)
Sacred Hearts is Dunant's most recent novel Sacred Hearts is even better than the last two!! It is set in the convent of Santa Caterina in 16th century Ferrara Italy. I am feeling lazy and don't feel like writing a more detailed synopsis of the book so I will borrow one from the author's website:
"Serafina, a willful, emotional & furious girl, has just been ripped from her proposed marriage and sent by her noble family to Santa Caterina. During her first night inside, such is her violent, incandescent rage that the dispensary mistress, Suora Zuana, is sent to her cell to calm her with a draft of herbs. Thus begins a complex relationship of trust and betrayal. And while outside the convent walls the forces of the Counter-Reformation push for ever more repressive changes, Serafina's rebellious spirit challenges not only Zuana but many other nuns who have made peace with the isolated life."
If you think a novel set in a convent could be boring YOU ARE WRONG!! The novel begins with "Before the screaming starts, the night silence of the convent is alive with its own particular sounds". I was hooked!! would I recommend it-YES!