Monday, April 30, 2018
The Reformation of Lady Elinor Review
Review for REFORMATION OF LADY ELINOR by Darryl Harris
REFORMATION OF LADY ELINOR is about a young widow who is very devout Catholic during a time when the climate of religious belief was changing. Elinor is set to spy on Garrett Bloxham, a handsome man suspected of smuggling English language Bibles into England, a burning offense. She finds, however, that not only is Garrett definitely smuggling books and tracts, but why.
Elinor takes a pilgrimage to Rome in order to pay for some imagined sins in her early life she has been told by her priest has caused her daughter to be blind. She feels that the pilgrimage will earn healing for her daughter, and possibly buy her own way out of Purgatory.
On the journey she takes with Garrett Bloxham and his servant, she finds that things are rotten in Rome. Instead of finding the meeting with the Pope and his servants blissful and fulfilling, Elinor finds that he is definitely a man with feet of clay. She flees to the safety of Garrett’s arms, in spite of turning him away because he continued to throw a damper on her fantastic journey.
What Elinor learns is nothing if not earth-shattering. All her life she has been a staunch defender of the Catholic church. She begins to learn, under Garrett’s tender care, that God wanted His children to be able to read their own scriptures and make their own way back to Him.
Throughout the story in which she meets Tyndale and Luther, there is an element of menace in the form of Oswyn Pygott, a commissioner for the King, self-appointed punisher of smugglers and other heretics, and “admirer” of Elinor. I say admirer, but he actually only demands she marry him to get her money and name. Oswyn is determined to catch Bloxham at his smuggling and torture him to death.
I enjoyed this book about the Reformation. The research Mr. Harris did was exhaustive and complete. He puts you right there during the stew that was England at the time of Henry VIII. What a dangerous time in which to live! This book makes me glad that we live in a country in which there must be due process of law and separation of Church and State.
While I am a religious person, I would not want to have my every move dictated to me. I like to form my own conclusions and manage my own beliefs and morals. It is clear to me why my ancestors fled Britain for the Colonies.
There is one spot in which Princess Mary is mistakenly attributed to Ann Boleyn, when she was actually Kathryn of Aragon’s only child. I found no other slips of this nature.
My one other warning is that Mr. Harris pulls no punches. Catholics may find this book obnoxious and heavyhanded. I find it to be a mirror of the times in which the book is set. Harris lays out every tenet by which reformers like Martin Luther lived and taught. He makes it clear why those men would risk their lives as later Protestants would as well. I found this work well-researched, an interesting story, and fast-paced. Harris puts you right into the action, showing what it would be like to attend the King’s Christmas tourney, as well as what it was like to go on pilgrimage. You walk the streets of Rome alongside Elinor and Garrett.
I give this work six out of seven pilgrim staffs and look forward to reading more of Darryl Harris’ works.
You can get it here.