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By Marjorie Bowen
Inheritance Publications

Box 154
Neerlandia, Alberta, Canada T0G 1R0

As the mother of three teenagers, I am very thankful for accessible and interesting biographies and the authors who write them. Marjorie Bowen has written two such biographies on William of Orange, considered today to be the father of Europe because he championed Protestant freedom in an era when the Catholic church had a firm grip on government and the freedoms of the common man.

Often, heavy historical subjects can come across to teen readers and adults alike as dry and one-dimensional, but Marjorie Bowen effectively brings her subjects to life, showing them as real people dealing with the complexities of their age. The story has good tension and action, which moves the story along, even across both volumes. In the excerpt below, Bowen paints a picture of Margaret of Parma, sister of Philip II, the Roman Catholic king of Spain. The description allows the reader to understand the emotions of Catholic supporters of the day:

Margaret was silent, her eyes narrowed with anger. Her sincere convictions were with the Cardinal. As an ardent Catholic, she loathed heretics; as a grateful subject of her brother, she wished to obey his wishes. She was loyal, industrious, and ambitious to render a good account of her charge. She believed the men before her, and those whom they represented, to be greedy, jealous self-seekers, and she despised them as mere worldly courtiers; but to the Prince of Orange's argument she was obliged to listen. . . .

She stood eyeing them all; her hand on her hip, her head well up.

It's good literature, and definitely worth adding to your stack of historical fiction to boost your knowledge of both William of Orange and the Protestant Reformation. Additionally, both volumes contain a good amount of black-and-white etchings and period paintings, all of which I found myself studying as I grew to like and dislike various character.

All in all, Prince and Heretic: A Novel on William the Silent and William, By the Grace of God make for solid and interesting reading that will help to cement facts about William of Orange and the world in which he lived firmly in a reader's mind.

Product review by Kendra Fletcher, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, April 2011

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