The year: 1255. The place: the English Midlands. The protagonist: Sarah, the daughter of a silk merchant, 17 years old and lovely.

The local squire’s son, Sir Thomas, adores Sarah, but she spurns his ad­vances. Sarah is in love with God and God alone; she longs to die to earthly desires by forever shutting herself away from human males. But Thomas refuses to leave Sarah alone, and even Father Ranaulf—a priest, a manuscript copyist, and Sarah’s spiritual adviser—finds the young woman strangely troubling.

Could there be a better setup for a medieval soap opera? It’s obvious what’s going to happen, right?