7 Quick Takes Friday – Super Quick Takes

7_quick_takes_sm1I’m connecting with other bloggers at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday. Come check out the other bloggers!

These will be super quick takes since I’m working on the print edition of A Subtle Grace as well as the Kindle edition and finishing three other deadlines.

1. Stealing Jenny 300th Review
My third novel, Stealing Jenny, just received its 300th Amazon review this past week (I believe it’s up to 307 reviews)! It was a bonus that the review was positive!Stealing Jenny

2. Spring Break Has Arrived
So where is spring? Up here in Ontario, this is the start of spring break, but we still have high piles of snow everywhere.

3. A Great Catholic Novel
Have you read “Treason” by Dena Hunt yet? It’s an outstanding read and may even strengthen your Catholic faith. I devoured this book in just under a day. For me, it was like literary candy.treason-catholic-novel-elizabethan-england-dena-hunt-paperback-cover-art

4. A Subtle Grace Print Edition
I’m still on track for releasing the print edition of my new book on or about April 6th. The final (I hope) proofs should arrive late next week. The Kindle edition is still on track for a March 22nd release. A Subtle Grace front cover Nov2013

5. Virtual Book Tour for A Subtle Grace
I’ll be visiting about 20 blogs in late March, early April and giving away lots of free copies of both print and Kindle editions of my book. Tomorrow, I will be listing the blogs and the dates I’ll be visiting them. If you are a blogger and would like to host me at your blog, please leave a comment below or email me privately: fullquiverpublishing(at)gmail.com

6. Reading Shelf
Deliverance Trilogy by A.K. Frailey
Aram – AK Frailey
Ishtar’s Redemption – AK Frailey
Neb the Great – AK Frailey

7. Cartoon
I’d like to dedicate this cartoon to St. Anthony who came through for me TWO times in the past few weeks. St. Anthony, you’re the best!

Image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach Please do not use without permission

Image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach Please do not use without permission

Copyright 2014 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Sunday Snippets – October 13

Image copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

Image copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at RAnn’s Place for Sunday Snippets, where we share posts from the previous week and answer a weekly question.

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers! There is much to be thankful for this year in our family.

Second, the question of the week: Have you read a book lately that you’d like to recommend to us? Which one and why? The book I’ve read recently that I would highly recommend is a Catholic novel called “Treason” by Dena Hunt. It has become one of my favorite Catholic novels. Why? Because the author was able to write a beautiful and compelling story that not only inspired me to be a better Catholic, it also made me grateful that I am free to practice my religion. And it’s only 4.99 on Kindle! (link above)

Here are my posts for the week:

7 Quick Takes Friday – Volume 92: a trip to a local museum, FQ news and a cartoon

Amazing Results with the Holy Rosary

Like Arrows in the Hand of a Warrior or How Our Publishing Company Got Its Name

Happy Birthday, Angela’s Song

Copyright 2013 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Treason by Dena Hunt (Book Review)

Published by Sophia Institute Press (2013)
treason-catholic-novel-elizabethan-england-dena-hunt-paperback-cover-art

It is suffering, more than anything else, which clears the way for the grace which transforms human souls.” (Blessed Pope John Paull II, Salvifici Doloris)

This quote by Blessed John Paul II could well be the theme of Dena Hunt’s exquisite novel, Treason, which takes place in 16th Century England when Catholicism was outlawed. Suffering for the faith in our current North American culture is something most modern Catholics have never considered. Religious apathy is evidenced by half-filled churches and the large numbers of Catholics who openly dissent from Church teachings on abortion, contraception, same sex unions and premarital sex.

Since Adam and Eve, sin has been present, but what I have observed is that religious apathy, poorly-formed consciences and subjective truth have made the above sinful behaviors acceptable and the norm. It’s becoming more and more difficult for Catholics to practice their faith in our current society.

So what does all this have to do with Dena Hunt’s exciting new novel, Treason? Well, a lot. Catholics in Elizabethan England were not permitted to practice their faith. Monasteries had their roofs torn off, convents and churches were looted, their artworks and artifacts were removed and stolen.

Catholics were expected to change their religion and attend Church of England services (or face huge fines). But many Catholics retained their faith and were forced underground to recite rosaries, go to confession and attend Mass when a priest was available.

Priests always bore the brunt of the crown’s cruel martyrdom because they were seen as traitors: if they were captured, they were tortured, hung and before death, taken down, drawn and quartered. In fact, Treason is dedicated to Blessed Father Nicholas Postgate, “a Catholic priest who faithfully served his ‘parish’ in the wilds of the Yorkshire moors, always traveling by foot, until he was arrested, hanged, drawn, and quartered at York, at the age of eighty.”

As well, lay people also suffered martyrdom during this time. Those suspected of harboring priests were hung without a trial.

Hunt’s story centers around a young priest, Father Stephen Long, who arrives in England to secretly minister to the large numbers of underground Catholics. He wonders “how many more Catholics will have to die to make Queen Elizabeth feel secure.” Every time he hears confession or celebrates Holy Mass, he knows he is committing high treason against the Crown, the penalty of which is torture and a painful death.

The other main character is Caroline. From the time she was a young girl, Caroline has known that she has been called by God to a contemplative religious vocation. Her mother has died and Caroline is forced by her father into a “safe” marriage to a Protestant. Her husband is not unkind, but he is frustrated by his “wife’s” lack of desire. He realizes that her love for him is no different than the love she feels towards all humanity. For Caroline, she must keep her faith secret from her husband. Her vocation is stifled and her suffering is internal. In many ways, Hunt portrays, this is a more difficult suffering to endure. Caroline cannot outwardly practice her faith, but more importantly, she cannot live the vocation to which God is calling her.

This is not a morbid book filled only with death. Nor is it a happy-go-lucky story. It is a difficult story to read because suffering and martyrdom were a way of life for Catholics during a time when religious liberty was ripped away from them. In that regard, the author does an excellent job of illustrating grace in action. Surprisingly, this novel also includes a few underlying theology of the body themes, which I did not expect from a novel that takes place in the 1500’s.

Treason is an artistic masterpiece of Catholic literature and is Catholic fiction at its finest. It has a cast of well-developed, believable characters and beautiful writing, rich in imagery. I savored each sentence and each scene like a piece of fine chocolate. In fact, once I reached the end, I was disappointed. This book is literary candy and I wanted more.

However, this novel is so much more than artistic mastery. Treason is a moving and inspiring reminder that our Catholic faith is a great gift and the freedom to express our faith is also a gift and should never be taken for granted.

This is the kind of book that should become a classic of Catholic literature. Only 4.99 on Kindle, I cannot recommend it highly enough. If I could give it more than five stars, I would.

Five stars out of five.

I’m giving away one free print copy of Treason (with thanks to Sophia Press). To be entered to win, please leave a comment and let me know why you’d like to win this wonderful novel (before Friday, September 27th).

Or…buy the Kindle edition here; and buy the print version here.

Copyright 2013 Ellen Gable Hrkach