Friday, September 09, 2016

Forged in the Fire, by Ann Turnbull

In this sequel to No Shame, No Fear, seventeenth century Quakers Will and Susanna have now been apart for the past three years.  Will has completed his apprenticeship in London and is ready to return to Hemsbury to claim Susanna’s hand.  But plague has struck in London and separates the young lovers a bit longer.  And no sooner  do they overcome that challenge, but are set upon by the Great Fire.  Throughout it all, they and their fellow Quakers are subject to cruel persecution that threatens their existence, but not their love or faith.

I love the details and the meticulous research.  And I also love the way that Turnbull's writings mirror those of the early Quakers in tone and tenor.  Still, I wish Turnbull had offered historical notes at some point as so much of this story covers a pretty obscure era in history.    I would definitely suggest reading a well-annotated copy of George Fox’s Journal as background for this novel.
But any of my reservations are overruled by the sheer pleasure of reading a story that combines YA historical literature and well-researched Quaker history.  Beyond the educational angle, the romance remains hot, the characters interesting, and the story briskly paced.

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