Some memories from my childhood are much clearer than others; accompanied not only by the sights and sounds of the moment but also by the emotions.
- Waking up to what I thought was an empty house when I was no older than three.
- The surprise birthday party my parents and cousins had for me.
- Discovering that the house that was on fire was ours.
- Finding out we had to give our poodle away.
One of those vivid memories was the result of watching a movie on television when I was in the third grade. My teacher may have suggested it. While I know the movie was about Mary, known as Bloody Mary, and Lady Jane Grey, I don’t remember which of the two the movie focused on. In fact, only the ending scene still plays in my mind.
What I remember even more clearly is the numb feeling I had for days afterward. I can still see myself on the playground at school experiencing grief at the death of the young girl who was murdered for sitting on the throne of England and worshipping God as a Protestant.
When I first saw the synopsis of this book and saw the name of Lady Jane Grey, my first instinct was to run away! But realizing this story is all about an alternate ending, where Jane actually lives, I knew I had to read it!
A Life Renewed
by Olivia Rae
Series: Secrets of the Queens #1
Publication Date April 2, 2020
Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Germany, England Middle Ages - 400 to 1600
Main Character Ages: 18-24
Written for: Adults
Award-winning author Olivia Rae brings another new exciting historical series.
In 1554, Lady Jane Grey, "The Nine Days' Queen" was executed for high treason.
But what if, instead of feeling the blade on her neck she secretly survived?
Escaping execution, Lady Jane hides as a peasant girl in a principality in Germany. She loves the simple life and never wants to return to England. But her benefactor, a power-hungry German prince, wants to march on London and place her on the English throne again, thereby increasing his dominance in Europe. If she doesn't agree with his plan, her beloved childhood nurse will be put to death. Desperate for help, Jane must put her trust in the mysterious spy Asher Hayes.
Asher Hayes is done rounding up Protestants for "Bloody Mary" and wants nothing more than to live a quiet life as a farmer and expunge the blood of many from his hands. Except Queen Mary isn't done with him yet. She throws his father, mother, and sister into prison on false charges in order to force him to accept one last mission - find and kill Lady Jane Grey. But when Asher discovers Lady Jane isn't a threat to the throne as he believed her to be, he faces a devastating decision - does he sacrifice his family for the woman who reigns in his heart?
I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
So often, faith becomes a matter of contention to the point of people behaving in a manner that is contrary to what that very faith teaches. So many wars are fought over religion.
To me, the saddest of these are the wars waged between Christians over tenets of belief. The teachings of Jesus are so clear as He tells us to love and to forgive. Instead of fighting for their belief, the apostles and many of the early believers were martyred. Instead of railing against a wicked emperor, the author of Hebrews commanded us to obey our rulers!
In the Middle Ages, Europe was in turmoil over religion. The Catholics and Protestants fought for control over their countries so they could worship freely. Those in power legislated the national religion and often, the penalty for worshipping contrary to that was death.
It is out of this conflicted world A Life Renewed is born. When Lady Jane Grey was exiled instead of executed (purely as a figment of the author’s imagination, of course!), she was caught up in yet another conflict over religion. Yet this young girl’s heart was against the fighting. She would rather give her life for others.
Jane’s gentle spirit showed in all she did. Instead of demanding service and respect as a member of the royal family, she humbly served the prince by doing mending. She lived as a peasant and happily milked the cows and gathered eggs. When a man was brought to their hut, severely wounded and not likely to live, without questioning who he might be or what his purpose for being there was, she tended him and cared for him until he recovered. In some ways, she was a little too perfect – I would have liked to have seen some flaws in her.
Asher was an interesting character. He was passionate about his Catholic beliefs and had served Queen Mary for years, delivering Protestants to their deaths. When he thought that life was behind him, he was blackmailed into performing one last service for the queen to save the lives of his family.
This alternate history was quite interesting. I enjoyed seeing the possibilities of what could have happened. While I was disturbed that the sermons preached by the Lutheran pastor were more railing against the Catholics, I don’t think it was far-fetched.
If you enjoy historical fiction with plenty of conflict, A Life Renewed would be a great addition to your collection.