Gold of Pleasure: A Novel of Christina of Markyate (Paperback)
Christina of Markyate was a gifted twelfth-century English woman, whose visions brought her local fame and who once owned the renowned St Albans Psalter. As a young girl she refused the sexual advances of the Bishop of Durham and ran away from home rather than consummate a forced marriage. Christina was hidden for years by rural hermits, developed a passionate attachment for one of her rescuers, and finally achieved the religious life she had always wanted, as a Prioress. The Abbot of St Albans came to rely on her spiritual gifts and commissioned a biography of her, but was she the saint he thought her to be?
In this carefully researched and insightful novel, Ruth Mohrman goes beyond the medieval account of Christina's life to imagine a woman who was many things at once. A lover of beautiful things who spent years in poverty, a divine seer bound by the past, a woman pledged to chastity who had intimate relationships with powerful men. Haunted by the secrets she was obliged to keep, in Gold of Pleasure Christina finally finds a measure of peace in the place she least expects.