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Publisher's Summary

As Stephen Long steps ashore in England one gray dawn in May 1581, he wonders how many more Catholics will have to die to make Queen Elizabeth feel secure. Involuntarily he trembles at the thought that soon he may be numbered among them.

For in the days ahead, each time Stephen hears confession or celebrates Mass, he commits yet another act of high treason against the British Crown, for which Queen Elizabeth's swift penalty is gruesome torture and painful death. As Stephen hastens to find shelter away from that open beach, he struggles not only with fear but with doubt as well: "Is my mission foolish? Am I nothing more than fresh meat for the queen's butchers?"

In the light of that same gray dawn, just a few miles north, a heartbroken Caroline Wingate lies awake in her unhappy marriage bed, wrestling with thoughts of a different - perhaps crueler - martyrdom.

Although from her earliest years Caroline has known herself to be called to cloistered, contemplative life as a nun, some years ago she was forced by her father into a politically safe marriage with an upright Protestant from whom she must hide her Catholicism - and her true vocation - lest she, too, be executed for her faith.

Hanging by the neck is swift martyrdom, but Caroline's doubts and guilt have pained her daily for years now. An exile in her own soul, in her lonely desolation she confesses, "I don't love my husband as I should. For safety's sake, I cannot give myself wholly to him and must deceive him daily. Nor can I give myself to the One I truly love."

In a few days, circumstances will force Caroline and the young priest together. With death hastening toward both of them, the beautiful fates of these two faithful Catholics confirm what we today too often forget: Our faith is the most powerful force in the world - more powerful than politics, wars, or empires.

©2013 Deana Hunt (P)2015 Sophia Institute Press

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Catholic novel about religious persecution

A well-written story about the horrors of Catholic persecution under Bad Queen Bess. Highly recommended. Gets the facts straight.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Love thy history

This book stretched my heart, stretched my soul. These seven days in a May of a long ago and mostly forgotten England passed for this reader like the courageous death of a faithful friend.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good performance, bit weak story

The story lacked a bit more substance as the main point is developed only by the end. A character with not much relevance in the end, is presented explicitly in the first third of the book.

Some secondary characters who are interesting by the end, are not well described in the beginning. Aside from this it's a short tale that a Bensonian appreciates.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jane
  • New England
  • 10-09-16

Really makes you think...

Narrator did a good job, but was slightly overly dramatic. Story was excellent.