I read this book in one day. I’ve never read anything quite like it before. It intrigued me from the first page and drew me in to the story of this unnamed woman from history. Written in a unique and poetic style – and from her first person point of view – the tale unfolds with great emotion and left me in tears by the end. I closed the book feeling like I’d lived an entire life along with these characters.
The relationship between Augustine and this woman was so beautiful and lovely. I rejoiced with them in their moments of happiness and mourned with them in their times of sorrow. Their journey of discovering themselves and understanding the world around them is incredibly fascinating. I know it’s historical fiction, but it felt very historical to me. It was all very well-done.
This story of selfless love, faith, and courage will capture readers’ hearts and imaginations. We may not know this mysterious woman’s name, but her life impacted those she loved and will most certainly be remembered. I know I’ll remember this book.
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to Thomas Nelson & Zondervan’s Fiction Guild for my copy.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Before he became a father of the Christian Church, Augustine of Hippo loved a woman whose name has been lost to history. This is her story.
She met Augustine in Carthage when she was seventeen. She was the poor daughter of a mosaic-layer; he was a promising student and heir to a fortune. His brilliance and passion intoxicated her, but his social class would be forever beyond her reach. She became his concubine, and by the time he was forced to leave her, she was thirty years old and the mother of his son. And his Confessions show us that he never forgot her. She was the only woman he ever loved.
In a society in which classes rarely mingle on equal terms, and an unwed mother can lose her son to the burgeoning career of her ambitious lover, this anonymous woman was a first-hand witness to Augustine’s anguished spiritual journey from secretive religious cultist to the celebrated Bishop of Hippo.
Giving voice to one of history’s most mysterious women, The Confessions of X tells the story of Augustine of Hippo’s nameless lover, their relationship before his famous conversion, and her life after his rise to fame. A tale of womanhood, faith, and class at the end of antiquity, The Confessions of X is more than historical fiction . . . it is a timeless story of love and loss in the shadow of a theological giant.
Suzanne M. Wolfe grew up in Manchester, England and read English Literature at Oxford University, where she co-founded the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society. She is Writer in Residence at Seattle Pacific University and has taught literature and creative writing there since 2000. Wolfe is the author of Unveiling: A Novel (Paraclete Press, 2004). Twenty five years ago, she and her husband, Gregory Wolfe, co-founded Image, a journal of the arts and faith. They have also co-authored many books on literature and prayer including Books That Build Character: How to Teach Your Child Moral Values Through Stories (with William Kirk Kilpatrick, Simon & Schuster, 1994), and Bless This House: Prayers For Children and Families (Jossey-Bass, 2004). Her essays and blog posts have appeared in Image and other publications. Wolfe is currently working on a series of mystery novels set in Elizabethan London. She and her husband are the parents of four grown children. They live in Richmond Beach, Washington. Visit her website at http://www.suzannemwolfe.com/.