Born to Treason
2016 Whitney Award finalist in historical fiction
About the book:
Smuggling pages from a forbidden book is a small act of defiance against Queen Elizabeth I, but it entangles Joan Pryce in a plot that may cost her both her heart and her life.
Joan is not only Catholic—her beliefs outlawed by the queen—but also Welsh, a people long oppressed by the English. When Joan’s father dies, she is cast out from her home. Nicholas, the childhood friend she was supposed to marry, is a cold stranger, disfigured by an accident no one talks about. Smuggling religious books gives Joan a chance to do something about the injustices around her, but draws her into a world where everyone has a secret. An agent of the queen is closing in on her, and she must choose between her loyalty to her faith, her country, and her heart. One misstep will land her at the gallows.
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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.
Rain mingled with my tears as shovelfuls of mud thumped on his coffin. I pulled the hood of my cloak lower to hide the depths of my anger and grief. They were a window into my traitorous thoughts, and anyone might be a spy for Queen Elizabeth.
Our parish gave my father a Protestant funeral—buried 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. 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.