Occasions of Sin

The Passing Rites Series, Book 2

By Elena Graf

Can Margarethe von Stahle, the countess-surgeon discover the reason a nun has abandoned her medical career.

For seven centuries, the convent of Obberoth has been hiding the nuns’ secrets-scandalous manuscripts locked in a vault, a ruined medical career, forbidden passions, perhaps even a murder. In the spring of 1931, Margarethe von Stahle, an aristocratic physician, arrives at the convent to interview a candidate for head nurse. Dr. von Stahle has a reputation for perfectionism and a quick temper. None of the sisters want to work with her except Sister Augustine, who seems exceptionally well qualified, but her past is shrouded in mystery. She holds a medical degree but abruptly quit medicine. Her final vows were delayed for an unspeakable reason no one will discuss, not even Margarethe’s aunt, the head of the order. A champion of women in medicine, Margarethe is determined to win Sister Augustine back for the profession and to discover what lies hidden under the veil of secrecy. As their friendship grows, so does convent gossip, threatening Sister Augustine’s preparations for her vows. Recalled to the mother house and the counsel of Obberoth’s superior, Sister Augustine begins to realize she must finally make peace with her past. At once a mystery and a love story, Occasions of Sin is part of the Passing Rites series, which follows the aristocratic Stahle family through the 20th Century. This novel, set in the twilight years of the Weimar Republic, touches on issues the Nazis would later address in frightening ways-the role of women, homosexuality, abortion, euthanasia, and the rights of the individual versus duty to the group. It also explores how religious institutions conspire to hide the truth.

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