The Bones You Have Cast Down

Written by Jean Huets

Set in 1447 Milan, The Bones You Have Cast Down is the story of 17-year-old Taria, who is removed from an orphanage by the Duchess of Milan to become part of her retinue. While in the duchess’s home, Taria comes into possession of a small painting of Guglielma, who appears to be a female pope. When Taria holds the painting, she is transported 150 years into the past, to the time when Guglielma was revered. The duchess wants to discover whether the woman in the painting should be recognized as a saint, and why her notoriety and the adoration for her died, and assigns Taria the task.

The Bones You Have Cast Down has an interesting premise, but it gets lost in subplots about love interests, political conflicts, the attention of the duchess’s husband, and tarot cards, all of which do very little to support the main storyline. They actually work against it, since they lengthen the time from when Taria originally goes back into the past and then is given permission by the duchess to learn about Guglielma. Some scenes are underdeveloped as well. I sometimes found myself wondering what their meaning was and hoped they would be made clear as I continued reading. The writing immersed me in the religious fervor of the medieval town and the duchess’s court, but it could either have been tightened considerably or the subplots developed to support the main plot.