Monday, February 29, 2016

The Confessions of X

The Confessions of X
Suzanne M Wolfe
(Thomas Nelson)
ISBN: 978-0718039615
January 2016/304 pages/$15.99

Before he became a father of the Christian Church, Augustine of Hippo loved a woman whose name has been lost to history. This is her story.

She met Augustine in Carthage when she was seventeen. She was the poor daughter of a mosaic-layer; he was a promising student and heir to a fortune. His brilliance and passion intoxicated her, but his social class would be forever beyond her reach. She became his concubine, and by the time he was forced to leave her, she was thirty years old and the mother of his son. And his Confessions show us that he never forgot her. She was the only woman he ever loved.

In a society in which classes rarely mingle on equal terms, and an unwed mother can lose her son to the burgeoning career of her ambitious lover, this anonymous woman was a first-hand witness to Augustine’s anguished spiritual journey from secretive religious cultist to the celebrated Bishop of Hippo.

Giving voice to one of history’s most mysterious women, The Confessions of X tells the story of Augustine of Hippo’s nameless lover, their relationshipbefore his famous conversion, and her life after his rise to fame. A tale of womanhood, faith, and class at the end of antiquity, The Confessions of X is more than historical fiction . . . it is a timeless story of love and loss in the shadow of a theological giant.


Suzanne M. Wolfe grew up in Manchester, England and read English Literature at Oxford University, where she co-founded the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society.She is Writer in Residence at Seattle Pacific University and has taught literature and creative writing there since 2000. Wolfe is the author of Unveiling: A Novel (Paraclete Press, 2004). Twenty five years ago, she and her husband, Gregory Wolfe, co-founded Image, a journal of the arts and faith. They have also co-authored many books on literature and prayer including Books That Build Character: How to Teach Your Child Moral Values Through Stories (with William Kirk Kilpatrick, Simon & Schuster, 1994), and Bless This House: Prayers For Children and Families (Jossey-Bass, 2004). Her essays and blog posts have appeared in Image and other publications. Wolfe is currently working on a series of mystery novels set in Elizabethan London. She and her husband are the parents of four grown children. They live in Richmond Beach, Washington. Visit


Suzanne M Wolfe gives voice to an anonymous and forgotten figure from history in this compelling novel. While she makes it clear that it is fiction, portions are drawn from research and from the writings of Augustine of Hippo. Wolfe's talent for crafting a story shines through her expressive prose. But while I was drawn into the book by the plight of X and the disparities between classes, I found it to be somewhat sad and depressing as well. While that is just another mark of a well-written book, for the reader to experience the emotions of the situation, my reaction was also based on X's spiritual beliefs. It can also be debated whether this should be classified as Christian fiction vs. religious fiction. Separating that from the overall quality of the novel, I found this to be a thought-provoking and masterfully written piece of historical fiction.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Thomas Nelson and the TNZ Fiction Guild for a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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