Monday, October 28, 2013

Lost Abbey

Lost Abbey is a suspenseful young adult novel by Amanda Jones and Clinton Jones about the plight of English Catholics in the reign of James I. From Amazon:
All sisters fight, but not all sister fights threaten the family with total destruction. Susannah Hill, the youngest maid at Oldbourne Manor in 1610, knows her sister is wrong to sneak out at night. But she isn't ready for what she discovers when she spies on Mary, her beloved older sister, courting by moonlight. Mary's suitor brings a gift, and Mary keeps it secret. Unable to curb her curiosity, Susannah soon finds Mary is hiding a Holy Bible, freshly printed in English. This is fine - and legal - in Protestant England, but at Oldbourne, recusant Catholics keep their ancestors’ faith against the law. Mary has privately turned Protestant. Will she give away their secret, a secret so dangerous that it could lead to the grisly death reserved for traitors? Would Mary even endanger the life of the little sister she has nurtured since their mother died in childbirth? Will Susannah have to choose between her faith and her family?
Lost Abbey gives a balanced picture of the religious conflicts of the era from the point of view of two young girls. It shows the particular hardships visited upon those Catholics who could not afford to pay the recusant fines levied by the government. In  many cases, they were faced with homelessness, beggary and imprisonment. Since families were indeed faced with utter destruction it made it easy for many to give in and join the state-sanctioned church. The fact that choices have far-reaching consequences is a strong message of the book. With vivid descriptions and multidimensional characters, it is book that shows that God's mercy never leaves us, even in the darkest moments.


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