About the Book
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?
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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.”
One of the most interesting questions to ponder is “What if?” After all, this query forms the basis of literary fiction. Adding in an element of truth serves to enhance the fascination, and thus the historical fiction genre exists. This is one of the many reasons that I love this genre and never become bored with it. While I favor the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, I enjoy reading and learning about other time periods as well, and this book is my first foray into the 1500s, at least for reviewing purposes. An era that has never particularly attracted my attention before, I must say that this was an excellent novel to pave the way!
Olivia Rae’s “A Life Renewed” kicks off her Secrets of the Queens series with a captivating tale of an alternative version of Lady Jane Grey. Instead of being beheaded, she escapes and ends up living as a peasant girl in a small German princedom, a simple life that she loves. However, Prince von Hoffbauer has other plans for her, intending to further his own cause, and English spy Asher Hayes is on an assigned mission to bring her head to Queen Mary in order to save his own family. With intrigue and romance, sixteenth-century Tudor England comes alive in this thrilling story, along with its turbulence and bloodshed. Of all the characters, I think that my favorite is Otto Werner; he wants to do God’s will but allows himself to be sidetracked, as happens to several other characters as well. As such, all of the characters feel genuine, because they each exhibit less-than-admirable qualities at times. Rae does include some Messianic imagery in the story, as when Asher says of Lady Jane, “She was either a lamb for the slaughter or a lion sent to tear all apart.”
The hatred and calculating animosity between the Catholics and Protestants calls to mind the current political landscape in America between the Democrats and the Republicans. If the seeds of division can be sown, they reap disastrous results for everyone. Author Olivia Rae does not appear to take sides when discussing the religious affiliations of those in “A Life Renewed,” and it is Lady Jane who gives the impassioned speech that so perfectly targets the heart of the issue, both then and now: “How can we profess to believe in Him if we curse one another? How can we profess to be His children if we are maiming and killing each other? How can we profess to believe in Him if we do not love our enemies as He has taught us?” How, indeed? We should come together in Christ and strive to demonstrate His love to everyone, seeking to live together in peace whenever possible. Having been given a renewed life in Jesus, we need to extend to others the same grace and mercy that we have received, a necessity for all time periods, Tudor and contemporary alike.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
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