Giveaway: Illuminations by Mary Sharratt

To wrap up the successful virtual book tour for Mary Sharratt's novel, Illuminations, I have an international giveaway here at Passages to the Past!  

The reviews from the tour have been phenomenal, reviewers have responded very positively to Sharratt's fascinating story of Hildegarde von Bingen.  To check out the reviews, guest posts and interviews, please see here.

IlluminationsPublication Date: October 15, 2013
Mariner Books
Paperback; 288p
ISBN-10: 0544106539

Skillfully weaving historical fact with psychological insight and vivid imagination, Illuminations brings to life one of the most extraordinary women of the Middle Ages: Hildegard von Bingen, Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath.

Offered to the Church at the age of eight, Hildegard was expected to live in silent submission as the handmaiden of a renowned, disturbed young nun, Jutta von Sponheim. But Hildegard rejected Jutta's masochistic piety, rejoicing in her own secret visions of the divine. When Jutta died, Hildegard broke out of her prison, answering the heavenly call to speak and write about her visions and to liberate her sisters. Riveting and utterly unforgettable, Illuminations is a deeply moving portrayal of a woman willing to risk everything for what she believed.

Blogger Praise for Illuminations 

"Were it possible to drown in another's words I might very well have been lost to author Mary Sharratt's pen while reading Illuminations. I really hate to gush, but there is no other way to describe my experience with this book. Easily one of the best books I've read this year, Illuminations is a vibrate and captivating portrait of an enigmatic woman defined by her desire to love as she herself felt loved by God." - Erin, Flashlight Commentary 

"With a distinctive first-person POV and a great narrator, veteran author Mary Sharatt makes reading Hildegard's impressive story an experience." - Jessie, Ageless Pages Reviews 

"I really enjoyed reading Sharratt’s Illuminations for its compelling prose, its lovely verbiage, her superb use of narrative and first-person POV, and her development of Von Bingen from history to the page. I was enthralled, curious, and ignited. I highly recommend this as a thought-provoking read, yet one that will absorb you so completely you’ll never use your bookmark." - Erin, Hook of a Book

Author Praise for Illuminations

"An enchanting beginning to the story of the perennially fascinating 12th-century mystic, Hildegard of Bingen. It is easy to paint a picture of a saint from the outside but much more difficult to show them from the inside. Mary Sharratt has undertaken this with sensitivity and grace." —Margaret George, author of Mary, Called Magdalene

"I loved Mary Sharratt’s The Daughters of Witching Hill, but she has outdone herself with Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard Von Bingen. She brings one of the most famous and enigmatic women of the Middle Ages to vibrant life in this tour de force, which will captivate the reader from the very first page." —Sharon Kay Penman, author of the New York Times bestseller Time and Chance

"I love Mary Sharratt. The grace of her writing and the grace of her subject combine seamlessly in this wonderful novel about the amazing, too-little-known saint, Hildegard of Bingen, a mystic and visionary. Sharratt captures both the pain and the beauty such gifts bring, as well as bringing to life a time of vast sins and vast redemptions." —Karleen Koen, author of Before Versailles and the best-selling Through a Glass Darkly

Official Book Trailer

Buy Links

Barnes & Noble

About the Author

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe author of four critically acclaimed historical novels, Mary Sharratt is an American who lives in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, the setting for her acclaimed Daughters of the Witching Hill, which recasts the Pendle Witches of 1612 in their historical context as cunning folk and healers. She also lived for twelve years in Germany, which, along with her interest in sacred music and herbal medicine, inspired her to write Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen. Illuminations won the Nautilus Gold Award for Better Books for a Better World and was selected as a Kirkus Book of the Year. 

For more information, please visit Mary’s website and blog. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter


I have one paperback copy of Illuminations up for grabs. To enter, please complete the form below. Giveaway is open internationally and ends on November 26.  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. I read this, too, back when it came out in hard cover. Here's what I thought.

    ILLUMINATIONS by Mary Sharratt tells the story of Hildegard von Bingen, recognized as a saint by the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches and as a prophet by the Lutheran Church.

    Hildegard's divine visions were likely the reason her mother gave her to a Catholic monastery when she was a child, where she was forced into a tomb-like existence for 30 years. Her visions continued her entire life. When she was sure they came from God, she saw the importance of writing a book about them. Further synopsis is in the reviews above.

    ILLUMINATIONS is based on documented fact, but it is not a biography. Here, Hildegard's story is told as a novel. In so doing, Sharratt interjects Hildegard's thoughts, psychological insights, and dialog and keeps the reader's interest more than a biography would. For readers like me, that makes this book more readable, and that is why I rate the book so highly.

    Like all good novels that are based on fact, ILLUMINATIONS will have you needing to know exactly what really happened and what is Sharratt's fiction. She talks about this in the "Afterward," which I thought should have begun the book rather than ended it.

    I wondered most about Hildegard's special relationship with Sister Richardis. So I did some digging, searching the Internet. And that made me want to learn even more, and that made me want to search Netflix. Sure enough, they have a couple DVDs about Hildegard, and now one of them is on its way to me.

  2. This is one of the novels I am looking forward to reading the most!! I took a class in grad school about Medieval women and Hildegard was one of my favorite women covered in the course. Her experiences were fascinating.


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