I'm still kind of letting this book brew. I can say that once I got into it, I didn't want to stop reading. I love books that are dark and lovely and seem historically accurate, so you feel as if you're really learning something about yourself and history, through the story and characters. I had checked this book out from the library before but didn't get to start it and I am really glad that I read it. I found the idea that so many of our classic religious figures, people who were supposedly touched by God, could very well have been schizophrenic, which I personally find much more believable. Not that I don't believe in God, but it would explain a lot of people's bizarre actions in the name of their religious beliefs. I am inspired to read more about the Beguines and other groups discussed in this group and, as a disclaimer, I must state that world religions have always fascinated me. There were so many great themes the author exposed in this book: guilt, faith, forgiveness, physical and internal beauty, the path of the soul, reincarnation, truth, mental illness, and most importantly, love. I have always wanted to read Dante's INFERNO and in fact, have it on my bookshelf. I will be reading it for sure now, and kinda wish I already had so that I could appreciate all the references to it in this book. Marianne's death wasn't a surprise but it was definitely affecting. I will never look at gargoyles and grotesques the same way again. I will definitely be looking for more of Davidson's books, if he has any. Do you ever read a book that you're so into that you're sad when its over because you want to stay with the characters and see what happens in the rest of their lives?? That doesn't happen with me often, but it did with this book. It is one that will linger in me for a long time. It was poetic and horrific and beautiful and I loved it.