An extraordinary debut novel of love that survives the fires of hell and transcends the boundaries of time.
On a burn ward, a man lies between living and dying, so disfigured that no one from his past life would even recognize him. His only comfort comes from imagining various inventive ways to end his misery. Then a woman named Marianne Engel walks into his hospital room, a wild-haired, schizophrenic sculptress on the lam from the psych ward upstairs, who insists that she knows him - that she has known him, in fact, for seven hundred years. She remembers vividly when they met, in another hospital ward at a convent in medieval Germany, when she was a nun and he was a wounded mercenary left to die. If he has forgotten this, he is not to worry: she will prove it to him.
And so Marianne Engel begins to tell him their story, carving away his disbelief and slowly drawing him into the orbit and power of a word he''d never uttered: love.
I was totally intrigued when I saw this and decided that this book was coming home with me, and boy am I totally glad that I did. This is one of the most beautiful books that I have ever read.
Where to start, it's not your most conventional novel. It's not all sunshine and rainbows. It's dark and it's harsh, but it's also hopeful and romantic. It's beautifully written. This book broke my heart, not because it was sad, but because Marianne Engel was an amazing character who loved, and was loved in turn.
Another great thing about the author is that he's Canadian, which is totally awesome in itself but he's also from a small town not far from where I live! Yes! I sometimes take Canadian authors for granted and don't really appreciate their work as much as I should, so I was glad to have loved this one so much.
It's a must read. A must must must read. I loved it, and I am so glad that picked it up when it called my name.