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Forged in the Fire

Review

Forged in the Fire

It is 1665, and Will and Susanna have been apart for three long years. Except for an all-too-brief rendezvous at a special church meeting, they have not seen each other at all. Their only connection is the slow exchange of letters --- and the bond in their hearts. They both dream of being reunited and finally married, but first Will must get a steady job.

When he decided to become a Quaker like Susanna, his father disowned him. Along with losing his family, he also lost his future prospects of an education and apprenticeship. So Will moved to London for greater opportunities while Susanna stayed in the village of Hemsbury to finish her indenture at the print shop.

At last, Will has acquired a steady job and writes to Susanna that he will be able to marry her in a few weeks time.

However, trouble is brewing as a plague invades London. Thousands are becoming sick and most of them are dying. Once again, Will and Susanna must postpone their wedding; the danger of entering the city is too great. Even the mail is suspect of transferring the disease, and people are cautioned to steam letters over vinegar to cleanse them.

While offering support to some church friends imprisoned for their beliefs, Will himself gets thrown in jail. The unimaginably horrid conditions of filth and poor nutrition cause Will to fall ill. He almost dies, but a wealthy Quaker friend pays his bond and then nurses him back to health. During all of this, however, Will's employer catches the plague and dies. Will loses not only a friend but his job as well. Too despondent and weak to relate the entire truth, Will writes to Susanna that they must further postpone the wedding without telling her why.

Fearing the worst, Susanna decides to visit Will and travels with some church friends to London. But she walks in on a misunderstanding that shoves a huge crack between them, and Susanna releases Will from his promise to marry her. Is their love strong enough to bring them back together? And are they brawny enough to survive the catastrophic fire that threatens to destroy London?

FORGED IN THE FIRE is the much-anticipated sequel to NO SHAME, NO FEAR, and fans will be thrilled to read more about their Quaker heroes of the 17th century. Ann Turnbull does a fantastic job of bringing back to life the conditions of that time period, both the enviable and the not-so-enviable. Her story catches readers' attentions from the beginning, keeping them hooked and eagerly turning the pages to share Will's and Susanna's experiences. One does not need to have read the first book in order to appreciate this one.

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Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on October 18, 2011

Forged in the Fire
by Ann Turnbull

  • Publication Date: March 13, 2007
  • Genres: Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick
  • ISBN-10: 0763631442
  • ISBN-13: 9780763631444