No Shame, No Fear by Ann Turnbull

Susanna Thorn is a Quaker during a time of great persecution in England. Quakers are being imprisoned, including Susanna's own father. Susanna has longed to go to a city for a while, so she volunteers to get work. A fellow Friend, Mary, runs a printing press and agrees to take her on as a servant. So Susanna sets of for the town of Hemsbury, and a new life.
Will Heywood is about to be apprenticed when he meets Susanna. His father hates Quakers and would never approve of their growing relationship, but how long can Will keep it a secret? Especially as he becomes as interested in the religion as he is in the girl. As the persecution grows worse their friends are arrested one by one and even their youth will not protect them.

I really liked this book. It is set in a fascinating time period and is about such a strong group of people. They are not any stronger in anyone in else in a physical sense, but their faith helped them to endure terrible hardships without fear.

I liked Susanna, but it was Will's storyline that interested me the most. He grew and changed throughout the story while Susanna remained basically the same person as she was at the beginning. A little older and wiser, but the same. I liked how the story told of Will's difficulties in facing his father. He was willing to brave the authorities and risk arrest for his new friends and faith, but he was afraid of how his family would react.

This story is less about religion than it is about those who's lives are changed by it. This is a book about human beings with ordinary lives who make ordinary mistakes, but their beliefs help them make it through the troubles and misunderstandings of ordinary life. They endure horrible persecutions, but the book always seemed to be more about the characters than it is about any of the bad things that happens to them.

I would recommend this book and its sequel, Forged in the Fire, to anyone who is interested in history, religion, or young people growing up.





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