This novel, by Sir H. Rider Haggard, tells the inspiring story of an English woman living during the reign of King Henry VIII who is forced to endure treachery and hardships from a wayward abbot bent on pursuing his own selfish ambitions. As the lady named Cicely and her family face a series of perilous adventures, they are forced to make a number of difficult choices. In the end, they find that the God-given gifts of courage, love, and mercy provide them with all of the strength that they need to overcome the challenges that are put in their path.
|Suggested Grade: 9th - Adult|
|Author: H. Rider Haggard (Michael J. McHugh, ed.)|
|Copyright: 1909 (2012)|
|Softbound: 318 pages|
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Great Historical Novel!
The Lady of Blossholme is a tale of intrigue and suspense- set in the medieval time of King Henry VIII. It is the story of a young woman who gets caught in the most unfortunate circumstances and how she must rely on her faith and trust in God that He will carry her through.
The greedy Spanish abbot, Clement Maldon, is proving himself to be made of such evil that he will do anything to gain the funds to overthrow the throne of King Henry VIII. When he tries to stake false claims on the lands of Sir John Foterell, he commits his first of many acts that wreak havoc on the knight's poor family.
Sir John is mysteriously killed after refusing to allow the abbot to take possession of the lands, paving the way for the terror awaiting his daughter, Cicely, and her newly wedded husband. After a siege on the residence of Cicely and Christopher Harflete, the two are torn apart and thought to one another as dead. Cicely and her nurse are taken and forced as captives into the convent of Blossholme while Christopher is wounded and sent to Spain.
All seems lost to the poor family- the only thing that keeps Cicely going is the life growing inside of her womb. Yes, the Harflete and Foterell estates still had a living heir! When the abbot finds out about the child he sends a murderous midwife to do away with the child as soon as it is born. Not wishing to give anything away I will just say that it is by the grace of God that his plans did not succeed.
After the child was born, the abbot sets his next plan in motion- to accuse Cicely and her nurse as witches and have them burned at the stake. Even when all hope seems completely lost the events that follow will prove to both test and build the faith of Cicely along with her friends and family as they witness the sovereignty and faithfulness of God in their lives.
I found this book to be very intriguing and thought provoking. It kept me on the edge of my seat and constantly on a roller coaster of curiosity. The historical elements were brilliant- thoroughly satisfying, giving a marvelous yet sometimes gruesome picture of what it would have been like to live in those days.
Haggard did an excellent job with making one feel as though "all hope is lost" before bringing in the cavalry! I loved how thematically vibrant the story was- definitely entertaining and mysterious.
The biblical themes of trust, faith, and ultimately forgiveness shine in this book! The faith and trust in God that Cicely's nurse displayed as she prayed every night for a miracle made me smile. What inspiration! Towards the end, the mercy that Cicely extends to the abbot, even when those around her are advising condemnation- was so beautiful. After all that he had put her through...
Also, the pro-life message concerning the trials with the murderous midwife. Thinking back, what marvelous perspective. Viewing the similarities between present day abortionists and those who would consider themselves to be "pro-choice" and how they seek to murder the heirs of the Kingdom of God- even those yet unborn. But in the end how God ultimately saves the day through His divine power- how awesome is that?
I will say, though, the writing style and complexity of the plot would definitely lend itself to the more mature reader. Based on some of the elements of the book (simply things that a younger reader would not understand) and the sheer readability itself, this book would probably require more intellect that would be expected from one with experience from reading "harder" books. I would probably recommend this book for ages 14 and up.
Because the version of The Lady of Blossholme that I read was edited by Michael McHugh at Great Light Publications to be appropriate and safe for all readers, I cannot personally vouch for any other editions of the book that can be found. You can see more information on the copy that I read here.
I received the PDF version of this book free of charge from Great Light Publications in exchange for an honest review.