My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was a re-read for me. This is a series from my childhood, and I felt like reading something nostalgic this summer. I was really into historical fiction at the time, particularly from this era, so I was interested to see if I would still enjoy it.
The teen Christian novel is set in the 1500s during the reign of King Henry VIII. It follows the fictional family, the Wakefields, who are wealthy Protestant landowners. Because of their position, they are able to interact with some notable historical figures, including William Tyndale, King Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragorn, Anne Boleyn, and Thomas Cromwell. It highlights the evolution of the Protestant movement in England, as well as mentioning other key historical events in the world. The author interweaves the Wakefields into these events very well.
There were two criticisms I had about the book. The writing is a little over the top with the present perfect and past perfect verb tenses. “I had written” “He had gone”. It was just enough to pull me out of the story a few times. Also, while the author does include some of the darker sides of that time period, it’s very muted. Infidelity, promiscuity, greed, and dishonesty are all part of the plot but they are alluded to or implied. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I felt like it affected the character transformations, particularly of Myles. For example, without spoiling anything, his relationship with the court in London was downplayed, so when he had a choice to leave it, I couldn’t understand why that choice was hard.
There isn’t any profanity. As I mentioned above, the sexual and violent content is muted or alluded to. I didn’t feel like there were any graphic or detailed scenes at all. There is an almost sexual assault in the first chapter, and another in the middle of the story, but both are not explicit at all. There is mention of beheadings and heads on posts as they entered London, but, again, nothing graphic.
The story, itself, is actually really good despite the above criticisms. I really liked the way the author includes the characters in major events without affecting the history of those events. I didn’t remember everything that happened in the story, so it was nice to re-read and follow the adventure again. I would recommend this book to a younger teen, possibly preteen. This was a fun, nostalgic read for me, and I plan to continue the series!