Sacred Hearts - Sarah Dunant I give this book 3.5 stars. The story is based on true events during the time when the Catholic Church was beginning a stricter regime. As a result of this change the convents which were the only environment where women enjoyed the freedom to be somewhat independent became threatened. Women from all walks of life joined the convents, either due to their families placing them there, as in the case of Serafina, or simply because they had no place to go, as the case of Soura Zuana. Either way, once these women became assimilated into the convent they actually enjoyed perks that women on the outside lacked. Learning about these perks and the inner workings of the convent was very interesting. I’m not sure how accurate the portrayal of convent life is, but it was fascinating to learning the workings of the church and how the convent was a world unto itself. Each nun learned a trade based on her talent, thereby creating a community that was nearly self-sufficient.

Another thing that intrigued me in this book was the personalities of the nuns. Just like school, there were cliques. Honestly, I think anytime there are women involved this is going to happen. I appreciated the author staying true to human nature. In the case of the nuns, those whose families were rich had nicer rooms and more power, while those in the choir were considered the favorites. Even amongst choir members there was competition to be the top soprano voice. Being top soprano bought riches and popularity to the convent and perks for the lucky soprano.

The writing was beautiful and there were many things that interested me. I enjoyed that it was multiple narrators because it kept my interest; however, there were parts that dragged a bit for me hence the 3.5 star rating.