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Title of The Candlemaker's Woman
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Listen to my podcast interview with Page Chewing:

Watch the trailer for The Candlemaker's Woman.

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Author of The Rebel Nun, winner of the 2021 Herb Tabak CIPA Choice award and 1st place for historical fiction. (Click on cover to buy now.)

Based on true events, a traumatic story of mass migration as relevant today as it has been since humans walked out of Africa.

Melia, a girl on the cusp of womanhood, is sold as a slave to an abusive candlemaker in Gaul by her parents as the flee the Huns in Germania. She survives the cruelty of her owner, excels at making beautiful tapers, and falls in love, eventually using her skills and cunning to save her family. 

But will she ever recover the love of her life, the father of her son?

Her story imagines how one family, forced from their home by hunger and violence, endures one of the most disruptive and transformative events in history.

"At its heart, this is an evocative tale of resilience, hope, and the enduring power of love during the darkest times."

- Ana Veciana-Suarez, best-selling author of Dulcinea 

"The descriptions of (Melia's) life, from the slave block in Mogantiacum to the villa in Gaul, were so vibrant that I was there with her every step of the way."

- Lucinda E. Clarke, Readers' Favorite review

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The Rebel Nun CIPA EVVY gold medallion
The Rebel Nun CIPA EVVY gold medallion
Readers' Favorite 5-star medallion
Readers' Favorite medallion
Readers' Favorite 5-star medallion
Readers' Favorite 5-star medallion
Readers' Favorite 5-star medallion

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Praise for

The Candlemaker's Woman cover
Cover of The Candlemaker's Woman

The Candlemaker’s Woman got me at page one. This meticulously researched novel, set against a background of fifth-century upheaval in Gaul, is a tale of betrayal, of bigotry, and of love won and lost and won again. Charlier's skillful writing and commanding sense of history are evident in this superb story of a woman's strength as she fights to remain unbroken in her struggle against bondage and the prejudices of medieval Europe.

- Sandra Dallas, New York Times best-selling author

Charlier skillfully immerses you into the shadows of Europe in the early Middle Ages to tell the story of Melia, sold into slavery by her Germanic tribe. It is a story of ruthless enemies and unexpected alliances — but also of Melia’s courage amidst upheaval. At its heart, this is an evocative tale of resilience, hope, and the enduring power of love during the darkest times. A propulsive read about a forgotten time.

- Ana Veciana-Suarez, best-selling author of Dulcinea


A coming-of-age story, a mother-and-daughter drama that will have readers turning pages long past bedtime ... Facing hardship and cruelty, Melia’s resilience had me rooting for her, chapter after chapter. Well-imagined, dramatic, and immersive, the author’s descriptions of the time and place are a marvel. Coupled with crisp pacing and vibrant prose, it’s a five-star experience.  

- Lynne M. Spreen, award-winning author of contemporary women’s fiction

The historical backdrop of mass migration and societal upheaval is well-researched ... highlighting the emotional themes of displacement, resilience, and the quest for love and family ... reminding readers of the timeless struggles faced by individuals caught in the tide of history.

-K.C. Finn, for Readers' Favorite


"... a wonderful read, an exciting adventure, and a sweet romance all rolled into one, with a telling moral twist in the tail..."

- Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

The Rebel Nun
The Rebel Nun book cover
Award medalions for The Rebel Nun

Want to see The Rebel Nun as a movie? So do I! Here's how I'd cast it:

A fascinating novel based on the true story of a rebellion led by nuns against the church in sixth-century Gaul

Clotild, the daughter of a sixth-century king and his slave, leads a rebellion of nuns against the rising misogyny and patriarchy of the Medieval church. 

At that time, women were afforded few choices in life: prostitution, motherhood, or the cloister. Only the latter offered them any kind of independence, but by the end of the sixth century, even that was eroding as the church ejects women from the clergy and seeks to control their monasteries.

Craving the legitimacy thwarted by her bastard status, Clotild seeks to become the next abbess of the female Monastery of the Holy Cross, the most famous of the women's cloisters at the time. When the Bishop of Poitiers blocks her election and seeks to control the nunnery himself, Clotild masterminds an escape, leading a group of nuns on a dangerous pilgrimage to beg her royal relatives to intercede on her behalf. The bishops refuse to back down, and a bloody battle ensues.

Will Clotild and her sisters succeed with their quest, or will they face excommunication and possibly even death? 

In the only historical novel written about the incident, The Rebel Nun is a richly imagined story about a remarkable heroine.

Available Now! in audio, ebook, paperback and hardcover

Published by Blackstone Publishing and Blackstone Audio, 2021

The Rebel Nun
Praise for The Rebel Nun

The Rebel Nun is a well-written window into the life of a 6th-century royal bastard and the changing landscape of holy power structures. Charlier writes a strong voice for Clotild, with vivid descriptions of a daily life that brings readers along into her world. The research shows, and Charlier does an excellent job of seamlessly integrating the historical record with her own fiction. Marj Charlier takes an obscure sixth-century tale and turns it into a stunning story of a nun caught up in the misogyny of the early Christian church. Led by Clotild, a king’s bastard daughter, a group of nuns attempt to rescue their monastery from the all-male church hierarchy. Extensively researched and rich in historical detail, The Rebel Nun tells of a time when women were chattel, when priests questioned whether females had souls. Charlier’s artfully written account of Clotild’s struggle to save her Medieval sisterhood from the dominance of kings and bishops is a perfect novel for today’s women.


New York Times best-selling author

About Me

Historical fiction has taken me hostage. I write contemporary women's fiction but I am also addicted to stories set in Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages in Gaul and Spain.  

I spent my childhood in rural Iowa, got a BA in Iowa, an MA in Wisconsin and an MBA in Denver, and worked for 20 years in journalism, including 12 at the Wall Street Journal. I spent another 20 years writing in corporate finance departments and corporate philanthropy, before retiring to write novels.

I now live in Colorado Springs, CO, where I hike nearly daily, read books, write books,  and play with every dog in the neighborhood.

casual portrait of the author marj charlier
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