Fourteen-year-old Matilda, an apprentice bonesetter and practitioner of medicine in a village in medieval England, tries to reconcile the various aspects of her life, both spiritual and practical.
Into the fascinating, pungent setting of Blood and Bone Alley, home of leech, barber-surgeon, and apothecary, comes Matilda, raised by a priest to disdain worldly affairs and focus on spiritual matters. To Matilda's dismay, her work will not involve Latin or writing, but practical tasks: lighting the fire, going to market, mixing plasters and poultices, and helping Peg treat patients. She is appalled by the worldliness of her new surroundings, and the sharp-tongued saints she turns to for advice are no help at all. Filled with the witty dialogue and richly authentic detail that Karen Cushman’s work is known for, Matilda Bone is a compelling comic novel about a girl who learns to see herself and others clearly, to laugh, and to live contentedly in this world. Author’s note.