When I picked up Watermark at the bookstore a few weeks ago I was hesitant, excited, and anticipating a lot of disappointment. At first glance Watermark was everything I love in a book–historical fiction, a love story with strong characters, and most excitingly of all…. it is about making paper. I was convinced that somehow the author would take all these marvelous elements and ruin them.
I was wrong.
I am so, so glad I was wrong!
Watermark turned out to be exactly what I wanted it to be and more. As far as I can tell the historical details of the book including the papermaking are accurate, and maybe it’s just because I’m a huge paper nerd but I also found them entertaining. Looking over the bibliography in the back I was very impressed to see that she cited Dard Hunter, an American paper scholar that the professor who taught the class I took on paper thought of very highly.
Beyond all the geeky historical and papery stuff, the book was also well written and full of interesting characters. Auda, the protagonist, comes to life on the page as we see her face the struggles of being different in the middle ages. She is an albino, a mute, and an educated woman. When the inquisitors come to town she must hide and seek protection from those more powerful than herself.
I had a really hard time putting this book down–to the point where when I woke up in the middle of the night last night I sat up reading until I had finished.What a joy it is to find a good book!