Book of Colours Cover high res copy 2

London, 1321: In a small shop in Paternoster Row, three people are drawn together around the creation of a magnificent book, an illuminated manuscript of prayers, a book of hours. Even though the commission seems to answer the aspirations of each one of them, their own desires and ambitions threaten its completion.








Fourth Estate, Australia


Sarah is only only seventeen when she chooses to become an anchoress, a holy woman shut away in a small cell, measuring seven paces by nine, at the side of the village church. Fleeing the grief of losing a much-loved sister in childbirth and the pressure to marry, she decides to renounce the world, with all its dangers, desires and temptations.







i painted unafraid Front


Cadwallader brings a measured intelligence to her work, to produce a rush of memorable images that evoke the sights, sounds and tastes of each moment. She explores the various roles of womanhood, to produce a collection that is intelligent yet comfortably readable …

7 thoughts on “Books

  1. Hello Robyn. I have just finished and much enjoyed Book of Colours. I expect I may not be the first person to point out that the sequencing of events between pages 242 to around 272 seems out of order. We know that the book was delivered to Mathilda in April 1322 yet the July 1322 section has Will arriving at Wain Wood to do sketches etc. In the July 1322 section there is reference to ‘no news of Robert’s death’, yet his body has returned to Aspenhall earlier in the year. Apart from a bit of puzzle time, these things didn’t interfer with my enjoyment of the book. Regards. Jim.


    1. Hi Jim, I’m delighted to hear that you enjoyed reading Book of Colours. I appreciate you taking the time to let me know, and to mention the puzzle of pages 242 to 272. I’ve had a close look at the pages and I think they’re okay. When I established the two narratives and the two timelines, I wanted to explore the interaction between the limners making the book and Mathilda reading that same book in the present (1322), so I’ve arranged the timelines so that there are some points of contact (eg. Gemma painting the Annunciation, Mathilda looking at it). Page 242 begins in July in the present tense with Mathilda looking across the spring crop, and reminiscing about the past, (she describes what happened in the past tense) when Robert left just before Yule; that leads on to her memories of Will arriving in January 1322 — those sections are all in past tense. Then, as part of the second time line, Will arrives in January 1322 — that is another of the points of contact between the two timelines. It’s not easy to explain, so I hope that makes sense to you. It took me some time to get the two timelines dovetailing the way I wanted so that they both come together near the end of the novel. I’m glad that your puzzling didn’t interfere with your reading and enjoyment! cheers, Robyn


  2. Hi Robyn, simple wonderful! The way you weave together the lives of all the different people, and the way the details of period, people’s lives and community are used was illuminating. (No pun intended)
    I particularly enjoyed the information you began the chapters of 1321 from The Arts of Illumination. It left me feeling like I’d been sharing in their lives and wondering where their lives went.


    1. Hi Kate, Did I not reply? A thousand apologies. Thanks so much for the kind comments. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I must say I especially enjoyed writing The Art of Illumination, so I’m glad it resonated.


  3. Hi Jess, I’m so sorry to have missed this comment / link. It has been some time sine you wrote, so I’m hoping that you’ve made progress with your story. I agree that it’s so easy to do too much research, though I think the trick is to able to immerse oneself in the period, and in some way, to let the research go, so that the story takes over. Go well, and I hope you enjoyed reading Book of Colours.


  4. I so enjoyed reading the Book of Colours, thank you. I have gifted a copy to several friends and they have thoroughly enjoyed it too.
    Thanks so much. I don’t seem to be able to obtain a copy of I paint Unafraid, but maybe I need to try harder.


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