A historical novel set in 1610 France. Most of the action occurs in an abbey on an island off the coast. King Henry IV has recently been murdered and the boy king, Louis XIII has assumed the throne.
The heroine of the piece, Juliette (among other names) is an aerialist and actress with a minstrel troupe, led by a conman named Guy LaMerle. They have a love/hate relationship. The troupe is split when the minstrels are blamed for what looks like a recurrence of the plague. The pregnant Juliette goes to live at Abbey of Sainte Marie-de-la-mer where her daughter, Fleur, is born. She is leading a rather normal existence until the kind Reverend Mother dies. She is replaced by the powerful bishop's twelve-year-old niece who is under the thumb of LaMerle, disguised as her confessor.
Juliette knows that LaMerle is plotting something; she tries to leave with her daughter, but LaMerle, who wants to use her in his plot, kidnaps Fleur.
The suspense revolves around LaMerle's motivation in wanting to embarrass the bishop. What is there in his background that makes him hate the bishop so much? There's a twist.
Holy Fools revolves around Juliet, one time acrobat and star performer of a circus troupe led by her lover, Guy LeMerle. Betrayed by him and pregnant with child, she seeks refuge in a nunnery off the Brittany coast and becomes Soeur Auguste. When the abbess dies, an 11-year old girl, niece of a powerful bishop, is appointed the new abbess. She arrives accompanied by LeMerle, disguised as a priest. As the two wield their evil upon the nunnery, Juliet must protect herself and her daughter. This novel is being hailed as one of Joanne Harris's best. Asian Review of Books says, "If you enjoy history, intrigue and characters who dance to life from the page, you'll enjoy Holy Fools."
Joanne Harris's books are always a little quirky but riveting. This one was no exception. It's about a nun in an abbey on a deserted island and how she came to be there. It's about a priest (who isn't) and his relationship to her in her earlier life. Your mind will swim until it all comes together.
Super book, a true page turner with an unexpected twist at the end. I truly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it.
Excellent book. Well written story set back in the 1600's, about a woman living by her wits who ends up in a convent that is taken over by a figure from her past bent on revenging an old hurt inflicted by an elderly church official. It's just a coincidence they meet up there, but the emotional interplay between the two is fascinating.
I really enjoyed the book's lush, elegant writing and an intriguing story that reminded me a little of The Name of the Rose. Harris makes people and places come alive, and has a real talent for getting the reader involved and grounded, even with frequent shifts between past and present.
I really enjoy Joanne Harris's books and this one did not let me down. Harris did a wonderful job setting up the story and making you feel like you were on the island with the characters. She also had a realistic look on a person's emotions rather than a black or white situation.
In interesting medieval tale but with the same great voice as Chocolat and Coastliners.
Really enjoyed this book. What rich intriquing characters that have so much history together that you want to know the whole story. She is excellent at giving out the history of them in pieces that fit what is occuring in the story at that time. A excellent read.
Joanne Harris writes a book of intrigue, deception, and one that eventually leads her characters (the nuns) into intoxicating spells in the monastery. The disguise of LeMerle as a priest is quite convincing. The book will take the reader on a journey of colorful reading into the 1600's on an island off the Brittany coast. The intriguing story flows together, and the suspense keeps you reading page by page. An enjoyable read..
Harris is a very versatile writer, doesn't do justice to her talent to use "Chocolat" as a point of reference when reading her other books.
"Holy fools" is a historical novel that explore betrayal, mass hysteria, the power of the church, spiritual and carnal yearning. The character are well drawn and engaging.
I loved it.
By author of "Chocolate"17th century France the story of Juliette, one-time actress and rope dancer becomes involved in a mystery in a convent.
This novel is set in the 17th century in a remote abbey on the seashore of Brittany France. In the story, a young gypsy woman, along with her daughter, take refuge in the abbey. The gypsy woman, Juliette recounts her previous years as a traveling street performer and is haunted by memories of betrayal by her lover LeMerle. The story picks up when LeMerle shows up at the abbey as the new "priest."
Full of intrigue and unexpected plot twists, this wonderful tale includes stories of love, loss and forgiveness. If you love historical novels with strong and passionate characters, you will love this book! But, if history isn't your "thing," you may find it a bit boring.
Harris invites you into the world of 17th century French traveling troupes and secluded convents. The characters are flawed, not formulaic, and always intriguing. The plot is multi-layered and grabs you from the beginning. The narration was superb with British Suzanne Bertish hitting all of the right notes and executing perfect French pronunciation. I enjoyed every aspect of this book and highly recommend the audio version!
First of Ms. Harris's books I've read-interesting enough. Lots of characters-sometimes had a hard time telling who was actually telling the story-did enjoy the ending, however.
I enjoyed Chocolate, but I could not get into this story.