Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Pub date: 5 November 2019
The tale of Abelard and Heloise is known to many. Personally I’d never read anything about them but I was intrigued by this book.
It’s told between two eras, the time of the lovers and present day when author Arthur tries to understand their relationship and explain it to his daughter.
Abelard was a renowned philosopher and Heloise was believed to be intelligent beyond her time as a female. When Abelard begins tutoring Heloise their romance begins but is destined to be a disaster.
On discovery of their relationship Abelard is punished severely and lives a very difficult life often facing near death. One of the punishments he suffered was castration which was the ultimate factor in his decision for him to become a monk and the beginning of their seperation. For Heloise she is forced in to a life as a nun never forgetting her love for Abelard.
This truly is a heartbreaking story and the detail provided by Bragg is great. I did however struggle to picture the characters which is something I like to do when reading.
I am not sure how I felt about the chapters in present time, although they provided more information on what happened they also felt unnecessary. Personally as I enjoy history I would have enjoyed this more without those chapters or have them told as the historical ones but I can see that maybe they’d encourage others who aren’t so interested in history to read the book and get a feel for history.
I am thankful I read this as it’s given me an era of history I’d like to read more about especially the life of Abelard.
He seems to have been exceptional as a philosopher and author of many works and I will be taking some time to learn more about this man. I think my first point of call will be the The Letters of Abelard and Heloise which have been translated and published by Penguin House.
In his words
“It is by doubting that we come to investigate, and by investigating that we recognize the truth”
I really like that quote! I’d recommend this to those who aren’t already familiar with the story.
Thank you to NetGalley and Skyhorse Publishing for the opportunity to read this in exchange for my review.