Fire of the Word
post written by Emma Filbrun
Title: Fire of the Word
Author: Carol Pratt Bradley
Major Themes: Anne Askew, England, Henry VIII, William Tyndale, Bible, Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Renaissance/Reformation History, 16th Century History, Europe, Books for Women, Inspirational Fiction, Persecution
Synopsis: Anne Ayscough loved reading the Bible and learning about God, but was forced into a loveless marriage with a man whose family were staunch Catholics.
Sometimes a book that you open without knowing anything about it grabs you and makes a real impression. Fire of the Word was one of those. I got it almost a year ago when it was offered free on Kindle, but never opened it until a little while ago. I had no idea what I was getting into; a lot of times, the free books aren’t worth reading and I end up deleting them without finishing them. Not so with this one. This is one that I highly recommend.
I had heard of Anne Askew, a martyr in the days of Henry VIII. She was pretty much just a name to me, though—until I started reading Fire of the Word and realized that the Anne Ayscough who is the heroine of the story was actually Anne Askew.
Anne’s older sister Martha was betrothed to Thomas Kyme—but she is dying. Anne can’t bear the thought of losing Martha, but worse was to come. Anne was given to Thomas in her dead sister’s place. Their loveless marriage was torment for Anne, who found her only comfort in reading the Bible, as translated into English by Tyndale. She constantly felt herself in conflict between her own strong Protestant beliefs and the Kyme family’s staunch Roman Catholicism, just as the entire country was in conflict. King Henry VIII had decreed that the nation was now Protestant, and ordered many changes in the churches, including that the Bible be read in the services. However, many people, including Anne’s new family, wished to stay Catholic, and did their utmost to turn everyone else back that way.
I knew of Anne’s eventual fate as a martyr, so that was no surprise when I reached the end of the story. Her faith and love for God’s Word inspired me. This author has done a wonderful job of fleshing out a little-known story from history. Anne is easy to love, and Thomas is very much a villain. I don’t know if anyone can actually be so horrible, but it works well for the story! Read Fire of the Word if you want to be challenged. It is hard to put down, and very worthwhile.
WARNING: Marital relations are occasionally alluded to. Chapter 34 and the Epilogue briefly describe torture and burning at the stake.
Reading Independently— Adults
Links to buy this book:
Keywords: Anne Askew, England, Henry VIII, William Tyndale, Bible, Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Renaissance/Reformation History, 16th Century History, Europe, Books for Women, Inspirational Fiction, Persecution