To read about the horrors of Spanish Inquisition in a textbook
alone might make it seem like an exaggerated time in history. It's
hard to believe that such shocking acts of violence to punish blasphemers
in the name of protecting our loving God ever happened. But they
Fair Margaret is a historical novel that starts out
in England in the late 1400s and revolves around the life of Margaret,
a Christian maiden who was beautiful inside and out. Her father,
who acts the part of a non-conformist Christian, is actually of
Jewish ancestry, which he keeps a secret because of the persecution
he and his family could suffer. There are also issues of noble
blood and rank and the power of money and of the religious leaders.
The storylines of truth and character are intertwined with those
of deceit and greed. Loyalties are tested, as are faith and promises.
There are kings and queens, swords, ships, weddings, and disguises--enough
action and intrigue to satisfy all!
The turning point of the novel is set at a religious ceremony
in Spain where those accused of blasphemy, including Margaret's
father, were paraded to the location where their punishments would
be meted out. The dire penalties for heretics included hanging
and burning, among others.
The tale concludes with God's grace prevailing and those common
people who believed in Him finding true justice. Margaret, her
family, and a few others are heroic examples of how believers keep
their faith even through impossible trials and tribulations.
Fair Margaret is aimed at ages 12 and up and can be
utilized in a number of ways. It would be a great supplement to
a history textbook of this era. It could also be used in a Christian
Character class at home or at a co-op as it lends itself nicely
to discussion. It could also be used for a book club choice or
for a literature analysis assignment.
It took a little persistence to "get into" Fair Margaret because
it is written in a style that I do not normally read. However,
it was well worth it! The characters in this 304-page novel were
well developed, the colorful stories kept my attention, the historical
details were fascinating, and all of the storylines were finished
in satisfying ways.
Although the book offers enough fodder for it, no discussion questions
or conversation starters are incorporated. Of course, as it was
originally published in 1907, such appendices or extras were not
Despite the fact that the Spanish Inquisition was hundreds of
years ago, there are lessons to be learned for Christian life today.
My daughter is a freshman in high school and is studying world
history using literature, textbooks, and the Bible. This is a valuable
addition because it will make the shocking details more realistic
and, therefore, more worthy of remembering.