Paula S ánchez is famous in Seville. Now she is sitting for The Penitent Magdalen, along with Father Rastro and the monk Victor Maria, and watched over by the young painter Diego Vel ázquez.
But Seville in 1616 is a dangerous place, and the eyes of the Inquisition are everywhere.
In the evenings, Paula escapes the cares of life by skipping from rooftop to rooftop with the mysterious ladder man, who visits the Sevillians′ balconies each evening at dusk.
By day, she is encouraged by Father Rastro to be a mother to the Morisco boys, who are also seeking liberation.
But does the painting hold a secret that can truly free Paula?
Sallie Muirden′s powerful, poetic and moving novel is a testament to our capacity for wonder, for art and for love.