The only other book I've read by Roberta Gellis is 'Alinor' which I would have given 4.5 stars to if I had bothered to put it in my Goodreads library. This book wasn't as good. I still liked it but it didn't pull me along with its own momentum. Roberta Gellis is very good at painting a picture of life in the medieval world. Unfortunately, I was not entralled with all the church/political intrigue and had a hard time keeping track of all the bishops, archbishops and other men in positions of power. Once again I'm so very grateful to have not been born a woman in those times. In fact, I don't think I'd want to have been a man either. Gellis is strong on characterization and that is what kept me reading the book. I was interested in Magdalene and the women of her whorehouse and the various monks and other people populating the story.