So there’s this Saxon princess Beornwyn in 848 CE. She’s supposed to be the bestest, most nicest, most virginal of all the girls in the land. Except she’s maybe not so much that. And her maid knows everything. Is she going to church to pray, or to meet a lover? And who is the lover? And are the Vikings about to raid the village as well? Something nasty happens in the church, and Beornwyn doesn’t make it. And her maid becomes the virgin saint’s guardian and protector.
The fun bit here is seeing how the “true story” changes through the centuries. There are those who are true believers in the virgin saint, and then there are those who have their doubts. In 1200, her hand is stolen in an effort to end a drought. A cult develops in her name on a Greek island. Poems are written to honor her. Her remains are sought for destruction during the Reformation.
This whole book kept reminding me of Umberto Eco’s Baudolino, about the whole relic situation in the Catholic church. There are a lot of parallels between the stories. I guess it all depends on what you believe in. But either way, the stories are entertaining and always a good read.