The Rebel Nun
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Publication date: March 2, 2021.
A FASCINATING NEW NOVEL BASED ON THE TRUE STORY
OF A REBELLION LED BY NUNS AGAINST THE CHURCH
IN SIXTH-CENTURY GAUL
Marj Charlier’s The Rebel Nun is based on the true story of Clotild, the daughter of a sixth-century
king and his concubine, who leads a rebellion of nuns against the rising misogyny and
patriarchy of the medieval church.
At that time, women are afforded few choices in life: prostitution, motherhood, or the
cloister. Only the latter offers them any kind of independence. By the end of the sixth century,
even this is eroding as the church begins to eject women from the clergy and declares them
too unclean to touch sacramental objects or even their priest-husbands.
Craving the legitimacy thwarted by her bastard status, Clotild seeks to become the next
abbess of the female Monastery of the Holy Cross, the most famous of the women’s cloisters
of the early Middle Ages. When the bishop of Poitiers blocks her appointment and seeks to
control the nunnery himself, Clotild masterminds an escape, leading a group of uncloistered
nuns on a dangerous pilgrimage to beg her royal relatives to intercede on their behalf. But the
bishop refuses to back down, and a bloody battle ensues. Will Clotild and her sisters succeed
with their quest, or will they face excommunication, possibly even death?
In the only historical novel written about the incident, The Rebel Nun is richly imagined
story about a truly remarkable heroine.
Advance Praise for The Rebel Nun:
"Marj Charlier takes an obscure sixth-century tale and turns it into a stunning story of a nun caught up in the misogyny of the early Christian church. Led by Clotild, a king’s bastard daughter, a group of nuns attempt to rescue their monastery from the all-male church hierarchy. Extensively researched and rich in historical detail, The Rebel Nun tells of a time when women were chattel, when priests questioned whether females had souls. Charlier’s artfully written account of Clotild’s struggle to save her Medieval sisterhood from the dominance of kings and bishops is a perfect novel for today’s women."
--Sandra Dallas, New York Times best-selling author
"The Rebel Nun is a gripping, well-told story of women fighting against a church and society dominated by men who are determined to defeat them in body and spirit. A great tale that will immerse you in a world so different—and not so different—from our own."
--Philip Freeman, Fletcher Jones Chair of Western Culture, Pepperdine University