The Book of Colours
Harper Collins Australia
ISBN: 978 1 4607 5221 0
From Robyn Cadwallader, author of the internationally acclaimed novel The Anchoress, comes a deeply profound and moving novel of the importance of creativity and the power of connection, told through the story of the commissioning of a gorgeously decorated medieval manuscript, a Book of Hours.
London, 1321: In a small stationer’s shop in Paternoster Row, three people are drawn together around the creation of a magnificent book, an illuminated manuscript of prayers, a Book of Hours. Even though the commission seems to answer the aspirations of each one of them, their own desires and ambitions threaten its completion. As each struggles to see the book come into being, it will change everything they have understood about their place in the world. In many ways, this is a story about power – it is also a novel about the place of women in the roiling and turbulent world of the early fourteenth century; what power they have, how they wield it, and just how temporary and conditional it is.
Rich, deep, sensuous and full of life, Book of Colours is also, most movingly, a profoundly beautiful story about creativity and connection, and our instinctive need to understand our world and communicate with others through the pages of a book.
‘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.’ Sydney Morning Herald
‘A novel of page-turning grace’ Newtown Review of Books
A fantastic read that has a Dickenson like bleakness juxtaposed against the passion and the colour of the limners for their craft; a black/grey existence versus illumination and colour, creativity, life.
In depth research, locations that leap of the page, characters and their circumstances that will touch your heart, this is a great read.
And there is a bonus for all art lovers/creators – each chapter is prefaced with a paragraph or two from a book that one of the character is writing about their craft “The Art of illumination.” I appreciated every word.