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Isolde

Isolde is a young and beautiful noble lady with a heart shaped face, framed by long, blonde hair. Deep blue eyes and a determined mouth reveal her untameable confidence. She bathes in rosewater and scented oils as a lady of status should, and wears her mother’s sapphires and a belt of priceless, Arabic gold over her gown of mourning. She has a tender heart and her purse is always open to children, women, and beggars.

Isolde has been raised by her father with the expectation that she will inherit his castle and lands and thus be a lady of independent means and autonomy. On her father’s death however, it becomes apparent that her freedom is to be limited. Her inheritance is usurped by her brother and, refusing to marry his choice of husband for her, she is forced to accept the only other option available to her, to take holy vows and enter the local nunnery as a Lady Abbess. There is a growing bond and physical attraction between Luca and Isolde as the plot develops. Meaning beautiful, Isolde, is a name redolent of Malory’s iconic Tristan and Isolde (1470). It is the Celtic version of the name that has other variants such as Isoletta in Italian.

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Isolde

Education

Isolde’s father taught her how to calculate the profits on land, how to command the loyalty of people and how to defend a castle under attack.

She also inherited a love of fine clothes and was educated in dancing, music, languages, meriting, reading, singing and poetry.

Isolde’s Brother

"Giorgio smiled blandly at her, and gestured that she should take her seat at his right hand, where she used to sit beside her father."

Isolde’s brother, Giorgio, assumes the position of Lord Lucretili on his father’s death. Powerless to confront him, Isolde bows to her brother’s will.

Isolde’s Brother Continued..

We suspect that he has manipulated the situation and prevented Isolde from attending her father’s deathbed.

He will not permit her to see the will and presents her with an unattractive choice of marriage or a life of chastity. We later learn of his liaison with Sister Ursula and an apparent conspiracy against Isolde.

Isolde’s life at The Abbey

"Now we have a vow of poverty, each and every one of us. Poverty, obedience and chastity. We can own nothing, we cannot follow our own will and we cannot love a man."

Traditionally, visitors would speak to the women of the order through a grille and they would not speak to one another during the day except during prayer.

The nuns would have shaven heads - though Isolde hides her hair under her hood. They wore dark brown working robes and ‘pattens’ - wooden overshoes like clogs used for walking in wet and muddy conditions.