Robyn Cadwallader has published numerous prizewinning short stories and reviews, as well as a book of poetry and a nonfiction book based on her PhD thesis concerning attitudes toward virginity and women in the Middle Ages. She lives among vineyards outside Canberra, Australia, when not traveling to England for research and visiting ancient archaeological sites along the way. The Anchoress is her first novel.
"Cadwallader's writing evokes a heightened attention to the senses: you might never read a novel so sensuous yet unconcerned with romantic love. For this alone, it is worth seeking out. But also because The Anchoress achieves what every historical novel attempts: reimagining the past while opening a new window--like a squint, perhaps--to our present lives." --Eleanor Limprecht, The Sydney Morning Herald
"A truly fine and deeply moving novel, one to save and read
again." --Hudson Valley News
"Cadwallader's vivid period descriptions set a stunning backdrop for this beautiful first novel as Sarah rejects a larger world that will not allow her to live on her own terms and goes about creating a smaller one that will. Sarah's path will intrigue readers at the crossroads of historical fiction, spirituality, and even feminism as she faces the internal and external pressures on women of the Middle Ages." --Booklist (starred review)
"A considerable achievement for a debut novel." --The New York Times Book Review
"An ambitious debut . . . Robyn Cadwallader plays gracefully with medieval ideas about gender, power and writing: if the Bible is the written word of God, who may read it? What might women learn from their exclusion? The classic early-modern poetic comparisons between the room, the womb and tomb are lightly carried and masterfully used at what is probably the gentle climax of the story." --The Guardian (London)