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Extended Audio Sample Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen, by Mary Sharratt Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (537 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mary Sharratt Narrator: Tavia Gilbert Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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One of the most extraordinary women of the Middle Ages, Hildegard von Bingen—Benedictine abbess, healer, composer, saint—experienced mystic visions from a very young age. Offered by her noble family to the Church at the age of eight, she lived for years in forced silence. But through the study of books and herbs, through music and the kinship of her sisters, Hildegard found her way from a life of submission to a calling that celebrated the divine glories all around us.

In this brilliantly researched and insightful novel, Mary Sharratt offers a deeply moving portrait of a woman willing to risk everything for what she believed, a triumphant exploration of the life she might well have lived.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Tavia Gilbert delicately voices von Bingen, maturing the character appropriately as the listener follows her from childhood into old age. Jutta von Sponheim…is graced with hushed, ethereal tones, while Volmar, the young monk hopelessly in love with Jutta, has warm, deep inflections that reflect the good soul he truly is. Seamless shifts in tone along with exhaustive research into the correct pronunciation of obscure German names and places elevate the literary experience as only great audio can. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”

    AudioFile

  • “Masterful.”

    Saint Paul Pioneer Press

  • “One could not anticipate this majesty and drama…Riveting…Von Bingen…emerge[s] as one of the significant voices of the twelfth century…Unforgettable.”

    January Magazine

  • “Though confined primarily to the abbey and peopled by a small cast, Sharratt’s gripping story…is primarily about relationships forged under pressure.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Psychological insight, passages of moving spirituality, and abundant historical detail—from straw bedding and hairshirts to turtle soup and wooden dolls—make this a memorable addition to the genre of medieval historical fiction.”

    Booklist

  • “Sharratt brings the elusive Hildegard to vivid life, underscoring her ability to evade or transcend Church censure while espousing a proto-feminist agenda.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jen | 2/16/2014

    " I really liked this book. It was fascinating to learn how some young girls were walled into a life within a monastery. I liked the first part of the book better than the last part and I thought her visions were a little weird but as I looked at the back of the book and saw the research that went into the book I appreciated that. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Alison | 2/12/2014

    " A nice way into the life of Hildegard. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Pam | 2/12/2014

    " I really enjoyed this historical fiction novel about the real life 12th century Benedictine nun, Hildegard von Bingen. I've always been interested in medieval history, and getting a glimpse into the life of Hildegard and her contemporaries was fascinating. Hildegard herself was a very accomplished woman, especially for her time. She was a composer, herbalist and visionary and an extremely independent thinker. In 1170, at the age of 71, she famously stood up to the corruption in the Church on the steps of Cologne Cathedral, at great risk to her life. An interesting read about a fascinating woman. 4 stars - I really liked it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Kelly | 1/24/2014

    " I fully admit to having no knowledge whatsoever about how much of this novel is historically accurate, but I would probably read a shoebox if someone told me that it was about Hildegard. I think she is a fascinating visionary that has left us some of the most beautiful vocal music you will ever hear. So, I am confessing to being a sucker for the subject matter. The writing was fine, and the author dug through some interesting sources in producing this novel. Worth a look, if you like medieval music, history, or art. If you don't find these things particularly interesting, the storyline is not especially rollicking and so this might not be for you. "

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