Watermark: A Novel of the Middle Ages by Vanitha Sankaran is set in 1320 in a small town in France. The main character is Auda, an albino girl thought to be a devil child from the moment she was born.
Auda is mute but can read and write having been raised by a papermaker. It's rare for women to read let alone write during this period, and Auda's striking features put her very existence in danger when the Inquisition comes to town.
If you love paper at all, you'll revel in this book as the plot follows the early creation of paper using rags. The subsequent use of paper by the wealthy and the avoidance by the Church was fascinating to me and I couldn't get enough.
Interweaved between these historical facts is Auda's story as a mute albino woman who doesn't want to marry and her efforts to survive and prosper in France during the 1300s.
The novel also includes a short history of paper-making at the end, including a recipe for making paper.
Watermark is an exciting read, laced with fear, danger and a love for paper, stories and verse. Perfect!
My rating = ****