Author(s): Melvyn Bragg
A classic love story, retold for our times.
Heloise, a young scholar reputed to be the cleverest woman in 12th-century France, arrives in Paris set on entering the city's masculine world of learning. Frustrated in her wishes, she is stunned when the brilliant, radical philosopher, Peter Abelard, consents to be her tutor in exchange for lodgings with her uncle. But what starts out as a meeting of minds turns into a passionate, dangerous love affair, which sends shockwaves throughout the country and incurs terrible retribution.
Nine centuries later, Arthur, an English academic, is in Paris attempting to recreate Heloise and Abelard's story in a novel. When his daughter Julia comes to visit, she agrees to help, interrogating his portraits of a couple who seem often inscrutable, sometimes strikingly modern. As she spars with her father, it becomes evident that Julia is on her own quest is to discover more about her parents' fractured relationship - and that Arthur's connection to his subject is more emotional than he cares to admit.
In this profoundly thought-provoking, moving novel, Melvyn Bragg brings the 12th-century into the 21st as he breathes fresh life into one of history's most remarkable and enduring love stories.