Robyn Cadwallader does the real work of historical fiction, creating a detailed, sensuous and richly imagined shard of the past. She has successfully placed her narrator, the anchoress, in that tantalizing, precarious, delicate realm: convincingly of her own distant era, yet emotionally engaging and vividly present to us in our own.
Sarah’s story is so beautiful, so rich, so strange, unexpected and thoughtful – also suspenseful. I loved this book.
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
An intense, atmospheric and very assured debut, this is one of the most eagerly anticipated novels of the year … this one will appeal to readers who loved Hannah Kent’s bestselling Burial Rites.’
Caroline Baum, Booktopia
‘Surprisingly suspenseful … has the quiet intensity of a devotional chant. The contemplative tone of this beautiful novel leaves behind a feeling of calm and restoration, and a deeper sense of the power of the written word and of the myriad ways in which freedom can be experienced.’
Carol Middleton, Australian Book Review
‘Cadwallader is a poet of loneliness; few writers have captured so completely the essential madness that accompanies hermitage.’
‘Cadwallader’s writing evokes a heightened attention to the senses. You might never read a novel so sensuous yet unconcerned with romantic love. For this alone it is worth seeking out. But also because The Anchoress achieves what every historical novel attempts, reimagining the past while opening a new window … to our present lives.
Eleanor Limprecht, Sydney Morning Herald