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One challenge of writing historical fiction is what, or in this case whom, to leave out, no matter how interesting. Such is the case with Saint Lioba, featured today on English Historical Fiction Authors.

St. Lioba altar

An altar to St. Lioba at St. Martin in Tauberbischofsheim (photo by Schorle, Wikimedia Commons, permission granted under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License)

A learned woman, the British-born Lioba served as an abbess in Francia, installed by her kinsman Saint Boniface, who needed someone he could trust in his mission to strengthen Christianity in the region. She considered Boniface like a brother and was close to Hildegard, the young queen of Francia at the time of The Cross and the Dragon and The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar.

I had read about Lioba in passing during my research, but it did not occur to me to include her in my novels. In researching the post for EFHA, I found her a woman to be admired – pious, good-natured, rarely without a book in her hands.

So why omit such an interesting woman? There was no place for her in either story.

To have included Lioba would have been a case of an author showing off her research, one of those things that leads the reader to think, if they’re being charitable, “This is interesting, but what does this have to do with the story?”

The nice thing about a blog is I can show off my research, and so I invite you to read about a nun who played a role in solidifying Christianity in medieval Europe.