The Confessions of X by Suzanne M. Wolfe

Historical Fiction

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

5 Stars

Go to The Confessions of X on GoodreadsThe Confessions of X by Suzanne M. Wolfe

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

They think endurance is wisdom and perhaps that is so, but it is not the wisdom of men but of women, for though we live longer, history does not remember us and so we are a mystery to each generation.

In The Confessions of X, author Suzanne M. Wolfe lyrically brings to life the mystery of a woman “lost to history,” the one time concubine of a bishop of the Church, Augustine of Hippo.

I think it’s fair to point out early that I’m not crazy about one book blurb’s description of this novel’s central relationship as an “affair,” as that can connote something scandalous or unlawful, and this book isn’t about some seamy liaison. I suppose I should also mention that I’m puzzled by different blurbs saying Augustine is “heir to a fortune,” as he, being the youngest of his family, doesn’t stand to inherit anything and must make his own living.

Anyhow, as far as what this beautiful novel is, it’s a look at some of the complexities and ironies of life and love as seen through the eyes of a woman of low societal standing, attached to a man of a higher class. As a lover of language, I was drawn in immediately by the author’s fluid style, pleased to find an example of how poetry in prose still lives. Sure, there could be more no-nonsense or pedestrian ways of just getting to the point and telling us what happens, but much of this story’s singularity and effectiveness would then be lost.

I do hesitate in calling this novel Christian Fiction, only because the label may give many fellow readers the expectation that the key characters must be or become Christians if the story is to have a sacred or redemptive quality, especially considering Saint Augustine. But I find this novel utterly redemptive in that it gives a voice to one lost and nameless, and even an “insignificant” life given by God is therefore made precious.

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