“…this is a debut novel Van Langevelde should be proud of…”
Review by Renae Powers
Enid hates the Romans who enslaved her. Broken-hearted over the life she lost in Britain, she vows to bury her name and her past where the Redcrests can never reach it. As years of servitude pass, bitter resignation replaces her longing to return home.
Then an unlikely friendship with a fellow outcast raises Enid out of her isolation, bringing both hope for the future and questions about the confusing God of the Christiani. Yet memories of her childhood haunt her, urging her to cling to her old identity, while the barriers of Roman society remain in the way of her deepest dreams. The peace she thought she made with the past is crumbling.
But time is running out for Enid and those she loves. Danger threatens the household she serves as persecution stalks her few friends. She must decide if risking it all for the one she loves is worth giving up the world she knows.
Even if it is a choice between life and death.
I received this book from the author for free. All comments and opinions are entirely my own and this review is voluntary.
This book was a unique read for me, as it’s not every day I get to read something set in the 1st century AD, with a strong and fiery (red-headed!) female main character! The closest comparison I have is the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. Enid’s story combined a lot of the experiences of Hadassah and Atretes from that series, but with her own personal flavor as a Briton woman stolen from her homeland. Her journey was full of pain and heartache, but with an ever-present undertone of hope that in the end won out. “I know what it is like never to belong, never to have someone who can understand.” It was also unique in its use of language! Rarely do authors these days attempt to weave Old English into their writing, but Van Langevelde did so with grace on her first attempt! It was really fun to stumble upon native words and see “thee” all over the page, especially as a lover of Renaissance Faires who uses “thee” all the time! That being said, the use of many parts of the old language is so abnormal and antiquated that it often interrupted the flow of my reading, making me pause and “say” things in a way to which my brain is unaccustomed. Not sure I’d count that as a criticism necessarily, but it did make me take more time reading than I otherwise might have. “And for once I dared to think of home.” The story was good, despite being a bit slow at times, and had a great arc, taking the character from happiness to despair to happiness again. Van Langevelde wove in some really sweet side characters, like Julia, Lucius, and even Aurelia. However, Enid herself was not a super likable character for me. I often found myself feeling frustrated with her for her stubbornness in choosing hatred and pride over grace and forgiveness. As with any good character arc, she came around eventually, but she held onto her bitterness for longer than I liked, and was honestly mean to some people who were genuinely kind to her. Overall, this is a debut novel Van Langevelde should be proud of, and I hope to read more of her work in the future. Her attention to historical detail, the level of care she puts into her work, and the way she gently weaves faith into her stories make her an author to key an eye on for sure!
Action & Gore:
2. Very mild action (mentions common injuries like broken bones, without gruesome details).
Romance & Spice:
Cursing & Vulgarity:
Other Trigger Warnings:
None worth mentioning.
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