- Book: A Life Renewed
- Author: Olivia Rae
- Genre: Christian Historical
- Release Date: April 2, 2020
In 1554, Lady Jane Grey, “The Nine Days’ Queen” was executed for high treason.
But what if, instead of feeling the blade on her neck she secretly survived?
Escaping execution, Lady Jane hides as a peasant girl in a principality in Germany. She loves the simple life and never wants to return to England. But her benefactor, a power-hungry German prince, wants to march on London and place her on the English throne again, thereby increasing his dominance in Europe. If she doesn’t agree to his plan, her beloved childhood nurse will be put to death. Desperate for help, Jane must put her trust in the mysterious spy Asher Hayes.
Asher Hayes is done rounding up Protestants for “Bloody Mary” and wants nothing more than to live a quiet life as a farmer and expunge the blood of many from his hands. Except Queen Mary isn’t done with him yet. She throws his father, mother, and sister into prison on false charges in order to force him to accept one last mission – find and kill Lady Jane Grey. But when Asher discovers Lady Jane isn’t a threat to the throne as he believed her to be, he faces a devastating decision – does he sacrifice his family for the woman who reigns in his heart?
A Life Renewed Is an alternate history with romance novel. So much bloodshed in history occurred in history because of intolerance of the Protestant’s beliefs by the Catholics. How sad that they were not able to see that following Christ means loving everyone though they believe differently, apparently wrong to our way of thinking, and seem foreign to us. Holding space for each other’s individual beliefs and showing kindness is a principal theme of this book.
Queen Mary tried by various means to change Lady Jane Grey’s beliefs to save her from her erroneous thinking. Death was the final threat. In this story, the queen decides last minute to save Lady Jane from death because of her royal blood. A woman is chosen to take Jane’s place for the beheading so the public will believe she was properly punished. Lady Jane knows nothing of this plot until she awakes on a ship after being drugged.
She arrives in France and then flees to Germany where she finds a German prince as ‘benefactor’. His plans to use her to gain power soon threaten her desires to live a simple life in peace.
Can we not tolerate each other’s beliefs? The Treaty of Augsburg was supposed to do just that, and yet here we are, on the verge of war.”
Tears pricked her eyes, and she lowered her gaze to hide them.
The incensed Queen Mary learns of the prince’s plans to reinstall Jane upon the English throne. She manipulates her most trusted spy, who had retired from her service, into finding and killing Lady Jane.
Jane Grey felt very authentic. I sympathized with her desires to end bloodshed.
Asher arrives in her town. As a stranger, he is viewed with suspicion until he is beaten nearly to death by a group falsely called the Champions of Christ. I am going to tell you upfront, so you don’t end up googling like I did, that the group Champions of Christ is completely fictional.
To beat a man to such a state…it was unchristian.
Just when Lady Jane is packing to leave for England by herself the pastor brings Asher to the cottage where she lives for healing. Her plans are postponed indefinitely as she helps the apothecary (herbalist) heal him.
Lady Jane wonders why there are so many obstacles making her way forward difficult. I think we rarely see until afterward when God is already working to help us move forward but to a better place.
“If that were so, then why would He put such obstacles in her way?”
As Asher heals, he and Jane develop regard and attraction for each other. Neither realizes the other’s secret identity.
Intuitively, Asher recognizes she is the one he seeks even before he consciously realizes her true identity.
“Once again, his gut tugged. An instinct that told him his prey was near.”
A question that surfaces multiple times: is it ever justified to lie? Even to a “heretic”?
This is a very sweet romance. Jane and Asher’s consideration for each other is especially touching.
The note after the story disclosing the historical elements that were fictionalized was very helpful. I love the overall message of the book! One thing I would change is removing a small scene that seemed out of character.
There are many more great quotes you need to discover for yourself! Olivia Rae does an exceptional job giving us readers subtle hints about the motives of her characters. You need to read this book. It is worth reading!
I received a free advanced reader copy of this book. All opinions are completely my own.
Cool Episodic Historical Documentary
Fires of Faith tells the story of the Reformers attempts to bring the Bible to the common people despite persecution. Henry VIII is a central figure in several episodes. I discovered it is Free to view online!
About the Author
Olivia Rae is an award-winning author who spent her school days dreaming of knights, princesses and far away kingdoms; it made those long, boring days in the classroom go by much faster. Nobody was more shocked than her when she decided to become a teacher. Besides getting her Master’s degree, marrying her own prince, and raising a couple of kids, Olivia decided to breathe a little more life into her childhood stories by adding in what she’s learned as an adult living in a small town next to a big city. When not writing, she loves to travel, dragging her family to old castles and forts all across the world.
More from Olivia
The Challenge in Writing About a Real Historical Person
I like creating a story out of a kernel of information. The idea of my new book, A Life Renewed came when I took a trip to England and learned about the tragic life of Lady Jane Grey. Her life was so disastrous, I just wanted to give her a second chance at happiness. So that’s exactly what I did when she escaped her execution instead of dying as she did in real life.
My greatest challenge in writing this book was picking a heroine that actually lived. I had to do a lot of research in Lady Jane Grey’s life and her family. It was very interesting. Lady Jane was what we would call a progressive protestant. The conflicts between the Catholics and Protestants (The beginning of The Church of England) was very real and very deadly at that time. What many people don’t know is that Henry VIII was actually against many other Protestant religions (Calvinists, Lutherans, etc.). He feared their religious influence as much as he did the Catholic’s. His son Edward was more progressive, like Jane. If he would have lived, Jane’s outcome would have been totally different. After Jane’s death, Queen Mary went on a mission to turn England back to Catholicism. In her reign she killed over 300 Protestants. Hence later in history she was known as “Bloody Mary.”
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To celebrate her tour, Olivia is giving away the grand prize packaged of an autographed copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift certificate!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click this link to enter.