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Why did a nun in a seventeenth-century convent flagellate herself until her blood spattered the wall? Why did nuns save a child doomed to death in the Holocaust and who wanted her killed? Who wants a lost head-shaped reliquary that holds something other than a head? And are answers to these questions the key to a terrible modern-day death in a quiet archive?
When American historian Pandora (Dory) Ryan finds a very rare, uncataloged seventeenth century nun’s diary inside a record book at the provincial archives in Avignon, she is thrilled. This is historian’s treasure.
But she doesn’t know yet that it will send her on a search that brings about changes in how she feels about her profession, the irrational, and love with a sexy Frenchman. And it will take her from the archive on a dangerous adventure into the countryside of Provence, which, beautiful as it is, has a long and bloody history.
The archive’s dramatis personae: the grumpy archivist, with his paper-clip chains; the gofer, who smokes Gauloises and gets away with far too much; a nun with a sense of humor who harangues high school kids about sex; the nun’s glamorous sidekick; a famous American historian, whose requests for documents are inexplicably denied; the eminent professor, destined to fall in love; his nervous graduate student. And that sexy Frenchman, who isn’t who he says he is.
Ann Elwood lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California. She grew up in Saddle River, New Jersey. After college, she taught elementary school for a few years, then became a freelance writer. A desire to delve more deeply into ideas finally drove her to graduate school in 1981. Her dissertation focused on an order of 17th and 18th century French nuns. Now, she teaches history part-time at California State University, San Marcos, spends time with her dog, Louis, two cars, six box turtles, and a desert tortoise and writes the books she has always wanted to write but never had the time for.