Illuminated relates the unique story of a quest to verify the authenticity of an ancient illuminated manuscript believed to have been written by Astrolabe, the love child of the famous Abelard and Heloise. Sixteen-year-old Calliope Martin is interning with her uncle Harry at the prestigious Royal Auction House when they discover the beautiful palimpsest. A palimpsest is an ancient document that has
been erased to make room for a new one. When Harry arranges for Callie to go with him to visit a fellow historian and antique book dealer, she meets his son August, and there is an instant attraction. The two young people become involved with a search to verify the credentials that leads to adventure and romance.
This book has an intriguing and unique premise but unfortunately flounders in the delivery of the story. The legend of Heloise and Abelard, as well as, the history behind the story is the best part of the book because many readers are not familiar with these star-crossed lovers. Callie and August are likable
protagonists, but their deep love develops so quickly it is unbelievable. There is no real chemistry between the two, and their dialogue is often very clichéd. This book is recommended as an optional purchase for
grades six through nine.
Reviewer: Elena Borchers
School/Public Library: Dunbar High School