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The Anchoress

by Robyn Cadwallader

England, 1255: Sarah is only seventeen when she chooses to become an anchoress, a holy woman much like Saint Hildegard of Bingen, shut away in a small cell, measuring seven by nine paces, 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, and to commit herself to a life of prayer. But it soon becomes clear that even the thick, unforgiving walls of her cell cannot keep the outside world away, and Sarah’s body and soul are still in great danger.

Robyn Cadwallader’s powerful debut novel tells an absorbing, entirely human, and compulsively readable story of faith, desire, shame, fear, and the very human need for connection and touch. Compelling, evocative, and haunting, The Anchoress is both quietly heartbreaking and thrillingly unpredictable.

About Robyn Cadwallader

Robyn Cadwallader’s first novel, The Anchoress, will be published by Faber & Faber in the UK, Farrar Straus and Giroux in the US and Fourth Estate in Australia in early 2015. She has published numerous poems, prize-winning short stories and reviews, as well as a book of poetry, i painted unafraid (Wakefield Press, 2010) and a non-fiction book based on her PhD thesis concerning attitudes to virginity and female agency in the Middle Ages. She lectured in English literature at Flinders University, teaching a range of topics, but specialising in medieval literature and creative writing. At adult education and community level she facilitated short courses on creative writing, journalling and medieval culture.

Other books by Robyn Cadwallader


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