One of the U.S. Library of Congress's Top Thirty Books of 1998
"Seldom does one read pages of such intense beauty and intelligence about the female heart like those written by Vaz."
Simonetta Bartolini, Il Giornale
Based on one of the greatest true stories of seduction and abandonment, Mariana is the saga of the nun who wrote the Love Letters acclaimed as some of the most passionate documents in existence. They were bestsellers in her own time and have continued to touch hearts everywhere, with over 250 editions sold out in languages all over the world. She has inspired artists such as Matisse, Modigliani, and Braque, and such writers as Stendahl, who said of her, “It is necessary to love like the Portuguese nun, with that ardent soul whose fiery mark is left for us in her letters.”
In seventeenth-century Portugal, Sister Mariana Alcoforado shocked the world by having a fervent affair with a French officer, Captain Noel Bouton, part of the army that had come to aid Portugal’s struggle for independence from Spain.
For the first time in English, the entire story of her life in the convent is told in detail.
Mariana’s letters, translated here by Vaz, are simple, strong arguments for the purity of love, and they seem to penetrate the human heart with startling directness . . . Mariana’s evocation of life in seventeenth-century Portugal glows with colour . . . and is most successful in its lyrical descriptions of ordinary lives transfigured, in its detailing of everyday routines and beliefs, and in its account of spiritual and emotional struggles.
TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT