Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sophia Institute Press: Treason

I'm not sure how common this is among spouses who both enjoy reading, but my wife enjoys fiction, and I enjoy non-fiction. I have a few exceptions like Lewis, Tolkien, or anything considered classic. However, I generally tend to avoid fiction like the plague. God in His Divine humor decided that I have been having too easy of a time reviewing books and decided to slip a fiction book in my queue courtesy of Sophia Institute Press. I was definitely thrown for a loop. I have no idea how to review fiction, so please bear with me as I try to do my best.

Treason: A Catholic Novel of Elizabethan England takes place in 16th Century England, or Shakespeare's day. This was a time when being Catholic in England was traitorous and resulted in death. Within this book, Ms. Hunt shows us the human spirit in many different characters and how each one responds to the persecution of themselves or others. Spoiler alert: It's not always in a positive manner.

The first thing I do with a book, regardless of whether it's fiction or non-fiction, is read the back cover to get an idea of what it is about. In this case, I wish I hadn't of done that. The back cover gives you the impression that Stephen and Caroline are the main characters in the story. If they are indeed, it took nearly 50 pages (of a 200 page book) to feel like you got to know them in order to build some kind of attachment to them. We instead learn more about all the ancillary characters early on in  the book, which, while they are all connected in some way to Stephen or Caroline, come off more as major characters than minor ones.

Another thing of note in the book is that all the events take place over the span of a week, May 21 to May 27, 1581. This isn't a big deal, and it was a fact I didn't notice at first, but on reflection, that was a whirlwind of events that happened in the span of a week. I'm not saying it's impossible that it could have happened. I'm just saying I felt like this was taking place over the course of weeks and months and was surprised when I realized that it only took a week.

I give this book 4 out 5 stars. It did a nice job painting a portrait of how England was in the late 16th Century. It also did a nice job of showing all the different ways people act when faced with persecution of their faith. There is a character who turns his head and switches to the state religion, and then there are martyrs, both red (a literal dying for the faith) and white (a dying to everything you love for God). I am not saying there is a right way or a wrong way, as I hope to never be put in that position, but it does make you appreciate your freedom and ability to worship as you see fit. May we learn from our mistakes, lest we repeat them.

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