On Hist Fic Saturday
Let's go back to...1547
#2 The Seton Chronicles
My thanks to the author my copy of this book
Europe 1547. The rising tide of the Reformation threatens bloody revolution. And the terror of the Inquisition grows, even for those who have converted.
Bethia, newly married tries to find her way in Antwerp, both the city and family she now belongs to a constant source of confusion – and sometimes fear. While her brother Will, enslaved on a French galley, doubts there will ever be an end to his torment.
Divided by faith, Bethia and Will each desperately seek a place of refuge from the looming maelstrom.
But there is no safe haven… unless Will denies his beliefs and Bethia surrenders those she loves.
Those who have read the first book in the Seton Chronicles will be aware that Bethia and her brother, Will, are both embarking on a very different life to the one they left behind in Scotland. Bethia is newly married, having made her own choice of husband, she must now get used to living with Mainard, and his secretive family in Antwerp. After a difficult year imprisoned in a castle in Nantes, Will's life becomes even more unbearable when he is forced to work as a slave, alongside the inimitable John Knox, on board a French galley.
The Seton stories are told in separate sections so that it becomes almost impossible to predict what is going to happen as both Bethia and Will, in their respective new lives get caught up in conspiracy, intrigue, and deadly danger. Both the religious and political turmoil of the late sixteenth century comes alive with the sights, sounds, and aromas of a teeming city, or a galley fusty with the scent of unwashed bodies. I enjoyed reading both threads of the story but particularly Bethia's time in Antwerp with her new family who are as mistrustful of her motives as she is suspicious of the secrets they are keeping from her.
It was interesting to have Will caught up with John Knox, the Scottish reformist, who, we know from history, was confined in the French galleys between 1547 to 1549, with the incident of the statue of the Virgin Mary well documented. I do enjoy historical fiction which is true to factual evidence. The author brings impeccable research into her work which helps to give a real sense of historical accuracy whilst at the same time giving a lively fictional account of what it was like for each of these stalwart young people as they continue to survive in a very troubled, political and religious, world.
The emotional ending of the story certainly lends itself to a further continuation of the series, so it will be interesting to see just what happens next in the Seton Chronicles.
📖 Best Read with..a beaker of ale and a bowl of bean stew
V E H Masters was born and brought up on a farm a few miles outside St Andrews, Scotland.
The first time she ever visited St Andrews Castle was aged 12, when her history teacher took the class on a school trip. They crept down the siege tunnel and peered into the bottle dungeon, where Cardinal Beaton's body was said to have been kept pickled in salt. She was hooked!
The Castilians, her debut novel, tells the story of how the Cardinal's body ended up in the dungeon and why the siege tunnel was built. It closely follows the actual historical events.