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I get very, very excited when I discover a novel, so wonderful, so enjoyable, that I include it on my list of lifetime favourites. Set in the 15th century in an ancient abbey, Through an Iconís Eyes by Grace Conte fits that bill exactly!.....

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The Bookworm


I've just finished reading "Through an Icon's Eyes". It is a very intelligent book. I found the discourse on religion as it was viewed in the 15th century, while interesting, kept the pace a bit slow at first but it put the story in context and, before I reached the second half of the book, I was captured. The pace quickened and the subject matter became broader and more controversial. The icon content gave the story an unusual twist that kept me wondering where the story would go next and I was reluctant to put the book down until I reached the surprising conclusion. I look forward to the next Grace Conti book.

I was transported by this book to old England, Italy and Greece. I found the writing style appropriate for the era yet easy to read. The little images inserted through out the book were like little pictures added seamlessly. The storey is presented as something of a puzzle with pieces slowly falling into place. I could not put it down. This is a must read book.

I was just filling up my kindle with holiday reading and saw a notice that the author was giving her royalties to charity and thought I'd add it to my library .... so pleased I did. This is a surprising read, instantly transporting me to another time, it took a little while for me to understand the political background, but once I was there -- I was there! Couldn't put it down. The unusual character of a half-painted icon was absolutely convincing, she is a bit of a therapist to the central character Benedict and urges him to look at his actions through fresh eyes. While the story is reflective in nature, the present time pace picks up from the quiet Greek monastry and events spiral to a dramatic and completely surprising ending. The author made me change my mind about characters as I grew to understand them, taught me so much about fifteenth century europe and I came to the end and felt sad that I had got to the last page (always the sign of a good book).

I took this on holiday to a Greek Island overlooking a small monastery, which provided the perfect setting for this intriguing story. The language was masterful in transporting me back through time, and the characters and plot were both compelling. Extremely well researched, informative and highly recommended.

I loved this book - it transported me back to 15th century England, to the atmosphere and way of life at that time, incidentally increasing my understanding of some of the religious and political issues of the time - it has been well researched. The main characters were as intriguing and exasperating as only real people can be and the journey I took with them was full of surprises, some pleasant some not. As such `Through an Icon's Eyes' is not a comfort read, it kept me `on the edge of my seat' right to the very unpredictable end - somebody, please make this into a film!

Grace Conti has certainly delivered a punch with this story of two people and a religious icon of Mary Magdalene; set in 1440s London, Italy and Greece. Whilst this is primarily a novel you can see the history is really well researched as is illustrated on Grace's supporting website, which assists the reader with surrounding historical facts. I was deeply immersed in the plot and found the description of 1400's life extremely enlightening. I was particularly found Benedicts' story so gripping I couldn't put the book down.

A lovely book, the rich atmosphere of the 15th century is eloquently woven, the deep tone and imagery conjoured up by the author with her characters feels so genuine, I feel like I was actually there....