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Cloistered: My Years as a Nun

by Catherine Coldstream

ISBN: 9781784745059

'A profoundly moving memoir which gripped me' Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

In an evocative memoir, Catherine Coldstream describes life as a contemplative nun in the 1990s, and the dramatic events which led to her flight from the monastery on the brink of the Millennium.

After the shock of her father's death, and with her family scattered, twenty-four-year old Catherine was left grieving and alone. A search for meaning led her to Roman Catholicism and the nuns of Akenside Priory.

Cloistered takes us beyond the grille of an enclosed monastic world with its tight-knit community of dedicated women. We see Catherine, praying in the spareness of her simple cell, tilling the land or singing at Lauds, a novice who has found peace in an ancient way of life. But as she surrenders to her final vows, all is not as it seems behind the Priory's closed doors. Power struggles erupt, and the hothouse atmosphere turns to conflict - with far-reaching consequences for those within.

Catherine comes to realise that divine authority is mediated through flawed and all-too-human channels. She is faced with a dilemma: should she protect the serenity she has found, or speak out?

A love song to a lost community and an honest account of her twelve years in the Order, Cloistered is also a cautionary tale about what can happen when good people cut themselves off from the wider world.

'Immersive, beautifully observed' Katherine May, author of Wintering

'I admired [Cloistered] enormously' Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent

352 pages.

€ 24.99 

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Date of Publication: 07/03/2024

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