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This is a historically lush and lyrical novel about the forbidden love between a woman and a holy man. In 1896, the priest in a small village in southern France suddenly came into possession of immense wealth. This much is true. What no one knows for sure is where his money came from. The history of the region suggests that he may have stumbled upon clues to a hidden treasure of the Knights Templar. An even more tantalising possibility is that he discovered coded documents hidden in the structure of his church, documents so threatening to the Catholic Church that he was paid to keep silent. At his death under mysterious circumstances in 1917, his secrets died with him. Yet, there is one other person who may have known all - Marie Dernanaud, the priest's housekeeper and, some say, his lover. Interweaving the history of France at the turn of the 20th century, scenes of ancient Judea and the romantic and religious journey of a spirited and intense heroine, "The Priest's Madonna" gives Marie a chance to tell her version of what transpired, as well as her own story of belief, doubt and illicit passion.
Amy Hassinger is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She is also the author of Nina: Adolescence. She lives in Illinois