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In 1524 England, twelve-year-old Lily hasn't felt warm since the baron's men dragged her father away eight months ago. She pictures him dead. However, Frere Lanther, who has come from the Rhineland to lead his own secret and forbidden church, suggests Lily's father may well be alive in the New World. The baron is forcing Lily and her mother to leave their home, which he owns. When Lily begs her mother to accompany her to the New World to find her father, her mother reluctantly agrees.

The voyage is miserably cramped and filthy. A live pig lives in the room where the poor passengers eat their meals of watery soup and insect-ridden black bread. Lily meets the baron's son, Ethan, onboard and inadvertently blurts that Frere Lanther lives with them. When Lily's mother is raped, Lily is heartsick. She knows her mother's punishment was a direct result of Lily's exposing her family's secret.

A shipwreck upon the shores of the New World ends the voyage. The castaways stumble upon a gruesome discovery, which increases Lily's fear that her father is dead. When her mother is kidnapped, Lily must set off alone through the forest, starving and terrified. What she finds in the forest is astonishing.

Multilayered REDEMPTION is truly unique. Lily's story is a harrowing physical and spiritual quest laden with mystery, filled with unexpected plot twists. The tale is harsh, violent and gruesome --- not for anyone wanting to view history through a rosy haze. Yet the book is also vibrant, riveting and beautifully written. Lily herself is a believable, sympathetic character surviving devastation after devastation.

If you love history, you'll enjoy this powerful piece of historical fiction. If you snoozed through history class (as I did), you'll love REDEMPTION for a fascinating read that may even turn you --- yes, YOU! --- into a history buff.


Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on October 18, 2011

by Julie Chibbaro

  • Publication Date: April 27, 2004
  • Genres: Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum
  • ISBN-10: 0689857365
  • ISBN-13: 9780689857362