Born to Treason
Joan Pryce is not only Catholic but also Welsh, and comes from a family of proud revolutionaries. But when a small act of defiance entangles her in a deadly conspiracy, a single misstep could lead her straight to the gallows! Joan must decide between fighting for freedom and finding her true love.
I, Joan Pryce, was born to treason. If I did not choose between betraying my country and betraying my conscience, I would betray them both. Just as my father had.
Shovelfuls of mud thumped on his coffin. Each thud resonated in my aching chest, burying me, smothering me. I pulled the hood of my cloak lower to hide my anger and grief. They were a window into my traitorous thoughts, and anyone might be a spy for Queen Elizabeth.
Her law condemned my father to a Protestant funeral-laid to rest on holy ground but unshriven, without the benefit of a priest or last rites. Some of the other mourners owned the implements to give my father a proper Catholic burial, bring peace to his soul and mine, but they were too frightened to bring the bells and candles from their hiding places. Too frightened to sing or pray. I glared at them from the safety of my hood, but none even glanced at me. Cowards, cowards-white-livered cowards, every one.
And I the greatest coward of all, for I said nothing. The thought of the gallows choked off my protests. Where was my loyalty?
Blessed Mary, forgive me.
By S.Staley, Submitted on 2016-05-30
I was instantly drawn to this book by looking at the cover. It's amazing how a gorgeous cover can be a selling point for an author's book. The dress the cover model wears is beautiful and there is a sense of mystery displayed there too.
This book is a historical fiction book that was written by someone that knows their history. It is always so obvious when an author has done the hard work to get details right. I have been intrigued for a long time by this time period, the English Reformation and the reign of Queen Elizabeth the 1st. The feeling of great religious unrest is the basis for this story as Joan is Catholic, and her father died revolting against the Queen and now Joan is an orphan living with her godparents. She also meets up again with the man who she thought some day she'd marry, but she hasn't seen Nicholas for many years. He's changed in many ways and Joan isn't sure how she feels about him at first.
This story has a slow start, but as things progress, you get to learn more about Joan and the kind of person she is. The reader soon sees that Joan is truly at heart very kind and caring and wanting to help the oppressed. She is courageous and fights for her beliefs, even with her own life at stake. Though there is some romance in the story, this book's strong points revolve around the adventure and mystery as she becomes wrapped up in the intrigue of secretly fighting for her people,The Welsh, and her beloved Catholic church. I felt on edge a lot while reading this story hoping that Joan and the others would succeed in their quest for freedom. There is some violence as the Queen's men had a job to "take care" of the Papist Traitors who were revolting against the Queen.
There are some twists and turns in the story, especially having to do with the romance that fully blossoms near the end of the book. I can assure you that it will make you smile. This book will make readers of historical fiction and historical romance feel very fulfilled when finished. This clean read can be enjoyed by older teens and adults.
By Mandy Al-Bjaly, Submitted on 2016-05-26
I absolutely adore historical fiction novels. They are so much more powerful than textbooks because we not only learn about events, but also the minds, hearts, and living conditions of the people involved in and around those events.
In a historical fiction novel written right, we feel everything like the people living in the time would feel it.
When I read “Born to Treason,” by E. B. Wheeler, I learned about the fear, violence, desperation, and confusion surrounding the Welsh Catholics during the English Reformation. I never knew anything about the cruelty and violence of this time period. In fact, when researching about it online, it was really hard for me to find information about Protestant violence towards Catholics. It was easy to find information for the opposite, though. The author makes it clear in her explanation of the time, though, that violence happened on both sides.
I think it is easy when reading history to make judgments about one group of people or one religion based on certain events. But, reading a book like “Born to Treason,” reminds you that there are good people who want what is right everywhere. Perhaps more importantly, you are reminded that what is “right” doesn’t mean the same thing for everyone, and that the true answer is sometimes unclear.
This book was a quick read, and drew me in right away. I really couldn’t put it down, and always wanted to know what was going to happen next. I loved the complexity of the key characters, Joan, Hugh and Nicholas. Wheeler did a wonderful job of making each character unique. Even characters who were a part of the same cause did not always agree with each other. The choice between treason to the crown and staying true to faith, the choice between fighting and staying silent, the choice between helping friends or turning them in to preserve your life and what you hold most dear, was never easy to make.
Joan struggled throughout the book to find peace in her heart and mind. Her father had died from the effects of torture due to his Catholic devotion. She wanted to help the cause of freedom for her religion and for her beloved Wales. Her heart was also torn by the affections, or lack thereof, from two friends who were so different in their passions, manners, and beliefs.
“Born to Treason” will make you worry, make you cringe, make you angry, make you despair, make you blush, make you hope, make you fall in love, and make you ponder what true courage entails.
I highly recommend this book for its historical value, brilliant images of landscape, insight into life in 16th Century Wales for all stations of people, and for the times you will find yourself clutching your chest, unable to breathe steadily for anticipation of what will happen next, or for dreaming of who the man is behind the mask…
By Karie, Submitted on 2016-05-18
I really, REALLY enjoyed reading BORN TO TREASON. Emily is an excellent writer and BORN TO TREASON showcases her abilities admirably. Joan Pryce is one of those characters that feels really true to life--the reader can really get into her head and understand not only what she is feeling, but why she is feeling that way. The details of domestic life in the 16th century are neatly woven into the narrative and bringing to life what it was to live in a manor--the persistent cold and damp, the daily occupations that needed to be performed even by the heads of household to meet everyone's needs, even the relative scarcity of good clothing. Add those to some excellent character and plot development, and there were no info dumps required to get the reader up to speed. I cannot tell you how much I *loved* that!
Instead, Emily brought the conflicts of the time to life by letting us see how Joan felt about them, how her loyalty to religion and country called into question her right to exist, according to the policies of the current government. This was difficult for me to read, because I really admire Elizabeth the First for balancing the forces in England and making her reign possible, but I sympathized with Joan and how the policies Liz 1 put in place negatively affected her life. But I truly admired the fact that Joan didn't make any reckless choices, either--she did what she could, but didn't overreach her abilities and resources. She was careful with the people around her, and how her decisions could affect their lives. She had the maturity I would expect from a character her age in that time period.
I had a hard time putting the book down--the entire story was intense, but not overwhelming. Emily, I tip my hat to you. Now will you please write a story about Nicholas? Because he was pretty awesome too, and I think his history would be an intriguing read.
Gentle Reader Alert: I found nothing of concern.
By Aimee Brown, Submitted on 2016-05-17
It took me a little while to get into this book but it happened and I couldn't help but feel all kinds of emotions while reading it. I don't know that I felt a lot of emotional connection to the characters but the subject matter definitely had me thinking and feeling grateful and fortunate.
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres for this exact reason. I'm able to learn about a period and place in time in a way that brings it to life. I will admit that I'm quite ignorant when it comes to Wales and it's history. I knew very little of the plight of the Welsh Catholics until I read this book. Religious oppression has always existed at some point or another- in almost every country on the earth. It's such a shame.
Joan is a young woman and an orphan. Her parent are both deceased and she is dependent on others for her livelihood. I like that Joan is always trying to help the downtrodden and the sad. She loves her Catholic religion and worship brings her peace. I loved how Joan grows as she makes decisions and learns to rely more on her own merits and judgement instead of others telling her how and what to feel.
I could tell while reading that this author did her homework. The book felt true to the time and I came away feeling like I learned something new.
I just loved this bit from the book. "What the heart wants is not always what our head knows is best for us. Then it takes great courage to follow the course we know is right. Other times, though, it takes great faith to follow what our heart whispers, even when we see no sense or hope in it." (pg. 133)
Content: This book is based around religion so yes, there are religious elements to it. There is some violence and some graphic violence mentioned. Otherwise clean. No swearing or sexual situations.
By Katie, Submitted on 2016-05-15
There are many things that I take for granted, I'm just now realizing. I am fortunate enough to live in a place where I can worship who and how I want to, without fear of punishment. Joan isn't so lucky. Living in Wales in the 1500s proves to be a fearful, and sometimes deadly, time. The Queen of England wants to reform religion and those who insist on worshiping as Catholics are tortured and hung. Joan is intent on keeping her faith and in aiding those who are doing what they can to rebel against this, but it's very dangerous. This story really made me take a close look at my convictions and to think of the lengths I'd go to in order to stand up for what I believe in and I honestly don't know if I would have the strength to do what Joan does.
Joan is orphaned and goes to live with her godparents. She has no idea who to trust in this tumultuous time, yet she is so willing to risk her safety for those whom she deems are in greater need of help. An unofficial betrothal to her father's friend's son falls apart in the past, but Nicholas is intriguing and aloof.
Joan really is a character to admire, especially because she's so young (around 18). I enjoyed the story line, watching the events unfold in a gradual fashion. At times, the pacing seems to meander, but there are splashes of intensity and danger. This will be a definite hit with those who love historical fiction.
Content: some violence and descriptions of violent acts, but it's not overly graphic; heavy religious elements, as that's what this story is about; very mild romance.
*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*
By Cathy J, Submitted on 2016-05-14
This book was amazing to me on so many levels. I liked Joan, I was saddened for her from the very beginning of the story. She's just lost her father, and she knows that he died because of his Catholic religion. She's about to lose her home because her father's successor's are kicking her out of it. And she wants to continue in her Catholic religion, a lot of that has to do with her dead mother's teachings, but she knows that her life will end the exact same way that her father's just did. So she takes courage and goes to her godparent's home, hoping that she will be able to find a bit of normalcy there, but she really doesn't, just more sadness.
I loved the cast of characters in this book. Joan is amazing! There are so many lesser characters that you catch a glimpse of, and that glimpse is amazing. Nicholas Bowen, he seems to be something of an anomaly, Joan knows him to be Catholic and at one point it was his father's and her father's greatest wish for them to marry. But something has changed with him and Joan is unsure why. Father Davies, one of the Catholic Priests who had to live in hiding during this dark time. He was unable to help her father in anyway, mainly because he wasn't asked to. And so many more, amazing people everyone of them.
I was amazed at just how much this book made me feel. I felt sorrow for the oppression that these people went through. Joy at the little bits of happiness they were able to find or steal for themselves. Courage at the courage that Joan and many others like her had to be able to be themselves during this hard time. Make sure you pick up this great book, I learned so much from it!
I was sent an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
By Lisa F, Submitted on 2016-05-11
4.5 stars ~ Historical Fiction is one of my favorite genres to read. This is a wonderful story that is intertwined with a period of Welsh history. The book is set during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Catholicism was outlawed and people who practiced their faith were imprisoned and some executed.
Joan is Catholic. She believes and loves her faith. When an opportunity arises to help out in her cause to let Catholics worship legally and publicly, she decides to help. The path she has chosen is dangerous not only for her, but for the people around her.
This book is an amazing read. It brought the time to life for me. I really wanted Joan to succeed and make a difference with the religious intolerance of her time. The time period came to life for me. E.B. Wheeler did an excellent job at telling her story. The pacing was excellent.
The book contains a little bit of romance. There is also some violence that I didn't find too descriptive.
By Quibecca, Submitted on 2016-05-11
MY REVIEW / THOUGHTS:
This was such a fantastic story about sticking to your convictions and beliefs. While Joan tries to keep her religion close to her heart without getting put to the gallows she takes on a life changing course to stay true to herself and her beliefs.
This setting is beautiful, and the author put me right in the action. There was such a great story of, betrayal, love, and conviction. I felt Joan's love for what she believes in to flow through out the book. Although she knew what she was doing was illegal, she kept with it and love found a way to make things work.
I love how clean this book was and how involved it kept me. I am in love with the ending!!! I have enjoyed Wheeler's story, and know you will you. Take a chance, buy the book! You will not be disappointed.