Okay, gut reaction on the hardcover of No Shame, No Fear: Imagine you’re a teenage girl scanning the shelves, looking for a good read. You pull out this book with a grayish, subdued cover. The title sounds all right, but the girl on the cover with her back turned isn’t all that engaging.
But now this. This is what I’m talking about: Forged in the Fire. Whereas the last image left you a little cold, this makes you hot, hot, hot. And it’s not just the fire on the bottom, echoed in the fancy scrolled letters of the title. No, that guy on the cover is a genuine hottie.
No Shame, No Fear sets up the story of a Quaker girl in the 1660s. In England, the Quakers find themselves persecuted by the government and picked on by the citizens, but they remain steadfast in their quiet, worshipful ways. Enter William, son of a rich man, who runs into Susanna by chance. He can’t get her out of his mind, and seeks her out. As he gets to know her quite respectfully he develops a deeper interest in her religion and way of life, quite at odds with his own pampered existence. Solid historical fiction with a love story/religion thing.
Forged in the Fire continues the story as William goes to London, hoping to make his way in the world without an apprenticeship and with hopes that he can marry Susanna. More religion and less love story, as the two are separated for most of the book. It’s a shame, really, because the romantic tension is pretty well dissipated with them in two different cities. Susanna’s parts of the book the books are both told in alternating chapters get a little lame, since she’s not doing much more than waiting. William’s sections focus on the terrible treatment of the Quakers, and then the plague hits London and things really get bad.
Both books were interesting reads. Both books open up questions of religious persecution and the nature of faith. Though readers looking at this book for a Christian book club should be warned that there is some, ahem, first-time lovemaking involved in the second book.
I did find the differences in the covers amusing. Candlewick must have learned its lesson though, because the paperback version looks like this. Closer, most definitely, in tone to the Forged in the Fire cover. So good job. But it’s going to be hard to beat the cute guy. Hey, I actually asked to review the book based on that cover that’s got to be something, right? Forged in the Fire comes out March 13th.