From a remarkable new Australian author comes The Anchoress, a story set in the thirteenth century within the confines of a stone cell measuring seven paces by nine. Tiny in scope but universal in themes, it is a wonderful, wholly compelling fictional achievement. 'You might think there would be nothing to tell about those four walls, two windows, a squint and darkness, but the stones carried so many stories. And they would carry my story, every moment of my time here. My only witness.' England, 1255: Sarah is only seventeen when she chooses to become an anchoress, a holy woman shut away in a small cell, measuring seven paces by nine, at the side of the village church. Fleeing the grief of losing a much-loved sister in childbirth and the pressure to marry, she decides to renounce the world, with all its dangers, desires and temptations, and to commit herself to a life of prayer and service to God. But as she slowly begins to understand, even the thick, unforgiving walls of her cell cannot keep the outside world away, and it is soon clear that Sarah's body and soul are still in great danger ...Robyn Cadwallader's powerful debut novel tells an absorbing, entirely human and compulsively readable story of faith, desire, shame, fear and the very human need for connection and touch.Powerful, evocative and haunting, The Anchoress is both quietly heartbreaking and thrillingly unpredictable.
It's not often that a stunning new Australian novel comes to an agent via a Twitter call out. It's not often that a novel comes along that makes everyone in the publishing house stop, read and fall in love with it. It's not often that we get to publish a novel which has been the subject of a major bidding war and will be published simultaneously by Faber in the UK and Farrar, Straus & Giroux in the US. It's not often that we get a novel like The Anchoress.