Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Sumerton Woman-D. L. Bogdan

The Sumerton Woman

D. L. Bogdan

Kensington, Apr 24 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780758271372

In 1527 in Lincolnshire, England, eight years old Lady Cecily Burkhart becomes an orphan when her mother dies just a few weeks after her father passed. The Earl of Sumerton Harold Pierce becomes her guardian. He and his wife Lady Grace treat Cecily as one of their children. Cecily and their son Brey become friends while their daughter Mirabella remains aloof with her interests limited to religious beliefs and the family tutor Father Alec Cahill.

However, King Henry VIII obsesses over Anne Boleyn, which leads to a bloody religious revolution. His actions impact all of England and beyond. Mirabelle can no longer overly practice her religious beliefs as her convent has been destroyed. Cecily tries to keep her adopted family safe while trying to ignore her attraction to her former tutor who shares her feelings. However, a frustrated Mirabelle vows vengeance against those she blames for her hell: Cecily and Father Alec who works for Archbishop Cranmer's reformation efforts.

This is an enjoyable but grim look at what happened to those not inside of Henry VIII's inner circle when he breaks from the Roman Catholic Church to form the Anglican Church as the upheaval is dramatic and deadly. The Sumerton Women (and men) suffer from the effects of the Reformation that began over a dame. Although Mirabelle’s cruelly towards loved ones can be rationalized by what has happened to her mind when her reason for life, her devout belief, is destroyed; Cecily is too Little Miss Sunshine as she forgives everyone everything. Still, fans of the Tudor dynasty will appreciate this compelling glimpse into the impact on an extended family far from court by the actions of the King.

Harriet Klausner

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