Matrix by Lauren Groff
Matrix by Lauren Groff
UK Publication: September 2021
Reviewed by: Book Worm
This ARC was provided by Random House UK (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.
Officially my last read of 2021
Synopsis from Goodreads: Cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine, deemed too coarse and rough-hewn for marriage or courtly life, 17-year-old Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey, its nuns on the brink of starvation and beset by disease.
At first taken aback by the severity of her new life, Marie finds focus and love in collective life with her singular and mercurial sisters. In this crucible, Marie steadily supplants her desire for family, for her homeland, for the passions of her youth with something new to her: devotion to her sisters, and a conviction in her own divine visions. Marie, born the last in a long line of women warriors and crusaders, is determined to chart a bold new course for the women she now leads and protects. But in a world that is shifting and corroding in frightening ways, one that can never reconcile itself with her existence, will the sheer force of Marie’s vision be bulwark enough?
Equally alive to the sacred and the profane, Matrix gathers currents of violence, sensuality, and religious ecstasy in a mesmerizing portrait of consuming passion, aberrant faith, and a woman that history moves both through and around. Lauren Groff’s new novel, her first since Fates and Furies, is a defiant and timely exploration of the raw power of female creativity in a corrupted world.
My Thoughts: As a work of fiction I enjoyed this but as a work of historical fiction I would have liked to see an afterword that explained what was real and to give a bit of background about the real life central character.
I enjoyed Groff’s writing and found the development of the Abbey fascinating. I loved how quick witted Marie was and how she managed to outsmart everyone who attempted to challenge her authority. The secondary characters were great as well and it was interesting to see what Groff imagined life in an all-female enclave would look like.
The characters all felt real to me and the details about the abbey, the surrounding lands and the people outside the abbey really bought this story to life.
Who would like this? Those who enjoy female centric stories with strong female characters. Historical fiction fans may find this strays too far from what is actually known about Marie to fully embrace the book.
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