Courtney J. HallSome Rise by Sin

Five Directions Press, 2015

by C. P. Lesley on December 4, 2015

Courtney J. Hall

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The reverberations of Henry VIII's tumultuous reign continued to echo long after the monarch's death. England teetered into Protestantism, then veered back into Catholicism before settling into an uneasy peace with the ascension of Elizabeth I. But for the survivors of the first two shifts, the approaching death of Mary Tudor in 1558 created great anxiety. No one knew, then, that Elizabeth would choose a path of compromise and (relative) tolerance. And Mary's public burnings of Protestants gave much cause for concern that her sister might follow the same path with any Catholics who refused to recant.

Cade Badgley has served Mary well, even enduring imprisonment abroad for her sake. When he returns to England to discover his queen seriously ill and his own future changed by the death of his father and older brother, he has little choice but to manage the earldom dumped on his shoulders. But maintaining a crumbling estate without staff or money to hire them demands more resources than Cade can amass on his own. He turns to his nearest neighbor, who is happy to help–if Cade will return to the very court he has just abandoned, with the neighbor's daughter in tow. Marrying off a lovely heiress will not strain Cade's abilities much, but keeping her from pitchforking them both into trouble with her impetuosity and naïveté proves a far more difficult task. As the weeks pass, Queen Mary's health worsens, and the future of England's Catholics becomes ever more tenuous, the court is the last place that Cade wants to be.

In Some Rise by Sin (Five Directions Press, 2015), Courtney J. Hall neatly juggles politics, history, art, and romance during England's brief Counter-Reformation, a moment when the Elizabethan Age had not yet begun.

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