Hildegard von Bingen
Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), whose writings and music are integral to the novel, was trained by an anchoress named Jutta and, in the book, is one herself. An anchoress is a female hermit a woman who, for religious reasons, voluntary shuts herself off from the world. Although information on Hildegard confirms that she chose to emulate Jutta throughout her life, it is not clear that she was an anchoress herself. In fact, considering her achievements include founding two convents in what is now Germany it seems unlikely she was. What she most certainly was though is a woman of deep conviction and multiple talents - a writer, composer, visionary and mystic. Although not a canonized saint within the Catholic church, she is often referred to unofficially as a saint. More about Hildegard.
Julian of Norwich
The title of the book is taken from the writings of another anchoress, Julian of Norwich, author ...