" A rich fabric of love, mystery, anguish, and faith.” --Library Journal, starred review
The Priest’s Madonna begins in 1877, the feast day of Sainte Marie Madeleine, when nine-year-old Marie accompanies her mother on a pilgrimage to the grotto at Sainte Baume in the hills of Provence, where Marie Madeleine was said to have spent her last years. There, Marie meets Bérenger Saunière, a twenty-five year old seminarian who, eight years later, will be named as priest to Rennes-le-Château, her family’s tiny village at the foothills of the Pyrenees.
Interweaving the history of France at the turn of the twentieth century, scenes of ancient Judea, and the romantic and religious journey of a spirited and intense heroine, The Priest’s Madonna gives Marie a chance to tell her version of what transpired—a story of belief, doubt, and illicit passions. For readers of The Birth of Venus, Girl with a Pearl Earring, and The Other Boleyn Girl, The Priest’s Madonna is a historically lush and thoroughly enthralling novel about the forbidden love between a woman and a holy man and the moral and spiritual struggles of faith.
“A provocative page-turner, full of DaVinci Code-esque intrigue.” —Marie Claire Magazine
“Hassinger’s novel is marvelously written and well researched. She weaves together a story of France at the turn of the 20th century with that of Mary Magdalene to create a rich fabric of love, mystery, anguish, and faith. Highly recommended.” — Library Journal (Starred Review)
“Absorbing historical fiction . . . Hassinger brings historical characters to life in this vivid and affecting account of love and faith.” —Booklist
“What I love about Amy Hassinger’s gorgeous and graceful novel The Priest’s Madonna is how she so convincingly resurrects the past, how she so deeply imagines her characters’ longings. Rendered with uncommon insight and compassion, the novel is at once a story of suspense and a meditation on the mysteries of faith and love, of flesh and spirit. Some will call this novel historical; I call it timeless, and I envy those readers hearing Marie’s divine voice for the first time, those blessed souls receiving her captivating story like a prayer.” —Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Corpus Christi: Stories
“The Priest’s Madonna is an ambitious, absorbing novel, both impressively researched and deftly written. In Marie, Amy Hassinger has created an endearingly contradictory protagonist—naive and intelligent, submissive and rebellious—who tells a suspenseful story of love and religion.” —Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Prep
“Adroit . . . The Madonna is a very sympathetic and engaging presentation of holy historical biographies.” —Phyllis Tickle, author of Prayer is a Place and the Farm in Lucy trilogy
“Delicious! An absorbing journey of romance and redemption. If you liked The Da Vinci Code , you’ll love The Priest’s Madonna . It will challenge your religious beliefs and deepen your spirituality at the same time.” —Lisa Earle McLeod, syndicated columnist, commentator for “Lifetime Entertainment” and author of Forget Perfect
Awards & Honors
May 2006, Booksense Notable Book recognition