Elmina’s Fire grabbed me from the start and held on. This is the story of a young woman’s search for spiritual truth. When she leaves her Cathar family to follow the man who would become St. Dominic, she must confront not only her [horrific?] internal demons but ultimately the external horrors of the Abigensian Crusade. More than once while reading I felt myself holding my breath. Linda Carleton has written Elmina’s story so close to the bone, it has the feel of memoir – more remembered than imagined.

Joan Hunter, writing coach, Fifth House Lodge, Bridgton, Maine


In Elmina’s Fire: A Soul Remembered, Linda Carleton has succeeded in recreating an important if little-known period of the High Middle Ages. As the Crusade against the Cathars of the Languedoc unfolds in the early thirteenth century, the future Saint Dominic is creating what is destined to become the Dominican Order. This in turn will spawn the first papal Inquisition. As we follow the life of the eponymous Elmina, Linda Carleton captures well the period and its challenges. She poses the eternal existential dilemma: is it better to live as a sheep, or die as a lion? The story is based on real events, before the Dominican order was formally recognized, and before the Languedoc was annexed by France. The setting  is historically accurate and centers on Dominic’s first monastic foundation  (which still exists today). In telling her compelling story of desire and the human condition, she captures the world of the medieval Catharism as well as the portentous events that were destined to shape the modern world. If you have ever wanted to understand the world of the Cathars, and what happened to it, you cannot do better than read Elmina’s Fire.

James MacDonald, Catcher Historian, St. Ferriole, France


On the eve of the Albigensian Crusade, Elmina, a sensitive young Catholic nun is confronted with the horrors perpetrated by the Church and her unintended complicity in its evil. Despite the ‘trials of the soul’ that it reveals, Elmina’s Fire leaves the reader with the hope that there is always forgiveness and redemption possible, whether in this lifetime or another.

Leah Chyten,  author of  Light, Radiance, Splendor