Frequently Asked Questions - Trusting in FaithA warning of course - this FAQ will have spoilers in it! It's wise not to read this page until you've finished reading the novel.
The Church and Midwives
Part of the challenge Sarah faces is that, in the Church's mind, women in childbirth were supposed to bear that pain without succor. They felt this was the "pain of Eve" that women were charged to handle. Sarah's actions in a very real way go against the teachings of the Church at the time. So yes she is a devout Christian - and at the same time she is skirting their rules because she feels strongly about helping women in need. This is part of what creates the initial tension between her and Reynald. I didn't want to make those scenes TOO complex, though, to make it too political.
Women and Sexuality
We have the notion sometimes that women in the medieval times wore chastity belts. It was quite the opposite. Women and men in medieval times prized sex. They were surrounded by nature. Farm animals copulated in public daily. Most people slept in one-room homes and grew up with their parents making love while they slept. Sex was natural and normal. Men's clothing often emphasized and exaggerated the shape of their sexual organs. Yes the church tried to rein this in, but they were vastly unsuccessful. The greatest feature any man or woman could have was virility - and one of the only legitimate reasons for divorce was a lack of passion or children. So while Rachel's family might have been amused at her passion, they would also have understood and in a way respected it. Prostitutes were not shunned in the least. If anything, it was thought that a man who did not have regular sex would fall ill.
The Ending with Rachel
I tend to have a gentle soul, one that forgives and moves on. We are all human, we all make egregious mistakes, and we hopefully learn from them. In my original ending of the story, I was much more gentle with Rachel. I had her say yes to one of the many guys who had been caught up in her flirtations, and have her settle down to her own "happy life".
However, several readers felt that there was not enough sense of pennance there for her, based on the actions she had been taking. They felt there had to be much more of a sense that she was changing and maturing. So in the end I rewrote the ending so that Rachel's path is much more one that could lead to her growth.
I would love your feedback on the characters and storyline!
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