I have found one of those quiet authors that writes such great historical fiction, but not many people know about her. Ginger Garrett doesn’t not take on or write books that are happy reads. They are quite often a bit dark and different than the “standard” story of the character that we all know about. Chosen: the Lost Diaries of Queen Esther and Dark Hours are both very good and interesting books, but not widely read.
In the Shadow of the Lions Ginger takes on the story of Anne Boleyn and Henry the Vlll. Which for me was a very different read. I am not really all that familiar with that time period and I figure who wants to learn about a ruler who would get sick of a wife and kill her. I have always found him to be a bit inmature and very selfish, so in otherwords normal for a dictator.
What I didn’t know or remember was that the Tyndale Bible was starting to hit England at the same time as his rule. Which is interesting because he really fought with the church because of his marriages and the lack of an heir.
In this story you actually start in modern times meeting an unnamed editor who is dying. She is waiting to die and has an incounter with an angel who is one of the Scribes of “history.” He wants the editor to write down the story that he will tell her and sell it after which she will die.
Let me add here, I was not very excited to read this part as I was afraid that this story would take over the book and take away from the actually story. It doesn’t it. In fact it shows up very little and is used as a transition between the two stories going on.
Back to the story. This is the story of Anne as she becomes queen, but from a very different perspective than the story we have always heard. I had always thought she went after the crown, wanting to be queen and doing everything she could to get it. Well Ginger writes her as someone who was caught in a troubling time and is trying to serve God as best she can. That in and of itself adds a very different twist to this familiar story. I can’t say that I find her a sympathic character, but I do in someways feel for her. I still think she used people to get what she wanted, but maybe to a different degree than what she is portrayed in the history books.
I really did find this book interesting even though we all know how it ends. I think sometimes I forget that those people that are so much a part of history are still “normal” people. Whether is is King Henry or the Yeoman that you meet in this book. I also love that God took a time in history that was very turbulent and used it to spread His word to the “common” man. It is an interesting look at a part of church history that I really didn’t know much about.
By the way the Catholic Church in here really reminds me of a book I just read by Janette Oke called the Centurion’s Wife. The Pharisees of the Bible sound a lot like the Cardinals in this book. Hmmm 🙂
P.S. Those in the Zeeland Book Club this will be our book for January