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Summary

I found The Rebel Nun to be a well-crafted approach to educate readers like myself about a little-known piece of history.

4 STAR REVIEW: THE REBEL NUN by Marj Charlier

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The Description

Publication Date: March 2, 2021

Marj Charlier’s The Rebel Nun is based on the true story of Clotild, the daughter of a sixth-century king and his concubine, who leads a rebellion of nuns against the rising misogyny and patriarchy of the medieval church.

At that time, women are afforded few choices in life: prostitution, motherhood, or the cloister. Only the latter offers them any kind of independence. By the end of the sixth century, even this is eroding as the church begins to eject women from the clergy and declares them too unclean to touch sacramental objects or even their priest-husbands.

Craving the legitimacy thwarted by her bastard status, Clotild seeks to become the next abbess of the female Monastery of the Holy Cross, the most famous of the women’s cloisters of the early Middle Ages. When the bishop of Poitiers blocks her appointment and seeks to control the nunnery himself, Clotild masterminds an escape, leading a group of nuns on a dangerous pilgrimage to beg her royal relatives to intercede on their behalf. But the bishop refuses to back down, and a bloody battle ensues. Will Clotild and her sisters succeed with their quest, or will they face ex-communication, possibly even death?

In the only historical novel written about the incident, The Rebel Nun is a richly imagined story about a truly remarkable heroine.

The Review

Book Review The Rebel Nun TwitterA rebellion at a monastery in the late sixth century brings to mind a number of images. Still, nothing prepared me for Clotild and the other brave women featured in Marj Charlier’s book titled The Rebel Nun.

It was certainly strange to put the words “rebel” and “nun” together because my perception of nuns evokes a sense of serenity and quiet dignity. However, it soon became apparent that even in the late sixth century, women had to fight for their place in the world.

While the author admits that the book is a work of fiction, it starts with the accepted fact that 40 nuns rebelled against the new abbess of the Monastery of the Holy Cross. The author includes a note at the end of the book outlining her research. Of particular note is a concise breakdown of fact vs. fiction incorporated in the story. As a reader unfamiliar with this time period, I found the information greatly enhanced my understanding of the subject matter.

In the prologue, Clotild rereads the accounts of the rebellion as told by Gregory, the late Bishop of Tours. As one of the few people still alive to provide a first-hand account of what really happened, Clotild starts at the beginning when Christianity took hold in Gaul. It was a time of great turmoil as pagan traditions were eliminated and women were removed from the roles they had held.

The storyline itself took a bit for me to get into, but once I was able to distinguish the characters, I felt a connection with Clotild. The author provided ample description to show how the nuns chafed under the governance of the new abbess. The rebellion itself was well detailed enough that I pictured myself there fighting alongside the nuns.

I found The Rebel Nun to be a well-crafted approach to educate readers like myself about a little-known piece of history.

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About The AuthorMarj CharlierMarj Charlier began her writing career at daily and mid-size newspapers before joining the Wall Street Journal as a staff reporter. After twenty years in journalism, she pursued her MBA and began a second career in corporate finance. The Rebel Nun is her first historical novel, and her eleventh published novel.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, April 14
Feature at Reading is My Remedy
Review at With A Book In Our Hands

Thursday, April 15
Review at Two Bookish Babes

Friday, April 16
Excerpt at Madwoman in the Attic

Tuesday, April 20
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink
Review at The Enchanted Shelf

Wednesday, April 21
Review at Crystal’s Library

Thursday, April 22
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Monday, April 26
Guest Post at Books, Ramblings, and Tea

Tuesday, April 27
Guest Post at Novels Alive

Wednesday, April 28
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Thursday, April 29
Review at Novels Alive
Review at Into the Hall of Books

Monday, May 3
Review at Passages to the Past

Friday, May 7
Review at Bookramblings

Monday, May 10
Review at Rajiv’s Reviews

Friday, May 14
Feature at Books, Cooks, Looks
Interview at Passages to the Past

REVIEW AUTHOR

Amy Wilson
Amy Wilson
My name is Amy W., and I am a book addict. I will never forget the day I came home from junior high school to find my mom waiting for me with one of the Harlequin novels from my stash. As she was gearing up for the "you shouldn't be reading this" lecture, I told her the characters get married in the end. I'm just glad she didn't find the Bertrice Small book hidden in my closet. I have diverse reading tastes, evident by the wide array of genres on my Kindle. As I made the transition to an e-reader, I found myself worrying that something could happen to it. As a result, I am now the proud owner of four Kindles -- all different kinds, but plenty of back-ups! "Fifty Shades of Grey" gets high marks on my favorites list -- not for character development or dialogue (definitely not!), but because it blazed new ground for those of us who believe provocative fiction is more than just an explicit cover. Sylvia Day, Lexie Blake, and Kristin Hannah are some of my favorite authors. Speaking of diverse tastes, I also enjoy Dean Koontz, Iris Johansen, and J.A. Konrath. I’m always ready to discover new-to-me authors, especially when I toss in a palate cleanser that is much different than what I would normally read. Give me something with a well-defined storyline, add some suspense (or spice), and I am a happy reader. Give me a happily ever after, and I am downright giddy.

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