It took me a little while to get into this book but it happened and I couldn't help but feel all kinds of emotions while reading it. I don't know that I felt a lot of emotional connection to the characters but the subject matter definitely had me thinking and feeling grateful and fortunate.
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres for this exact reason. I'm able to learn about a period and place in time in a way that brings it to life. I will admit that I'm quite ignorant when it comes to Wales and it's history. I knew very little of the plight of the Welsh Catholics until I read this book. Religious oppression has always existed at some point or another- in almost every country on the earth. It's such a shame.
Joan is a young woman and an orphan. Her parent are both deceased and she is dependent on others for her livelihood. I like that Joan is always trying to help the downtrodden and the sad. She loves her Catholic religion and worship brings her peace. I loved how Joan grows as she makes decisions and learns to rely more on her own merits and judgement instead of others telling her how and what to feel.
I could tell while reading that this author did her homework. The book felt true to the time and I came away feeling like I learned something new.
I just loved this bit from the book. "What the heart wants is not always what our head knows is best for us. Then it takes great courage to follow the course we know is right. Other times, though, it takes great faith to follow what our heart whispers, even when we see no sense or hope in it." (pg. 133)
Content: This book is based around religion so yes, there are religious elements to it. There is some violence and some graphic violence mentioned. Otherwise clean. No swearing or sexual situations.