In the Shadow of Lions

If we could hear the angels speak, what would they say? If we could open the Book of Ages, brimming with the most intimate stories of lives redeemed what hidden mysteries could we solve? Ginger Garrett blows open creative doors in this unique retelling of the infamous, historical mystery behind England’s notorious Anne Boleyn. But don’t assume you will only leaf through pages littered with royal intrigue, passions, deception and betrayal, although you will find those aplenty. This book opens up the reader’s eyes to a piece in the story of Anne Boleyn that history doesn’t repeat….or at least Earthly historians don’t.

The narrator in this novel appears to be Bridget, a patient dying from cancer, but in truth most of the book is told from the perspective of the angel who writes the stories of God’s people. That right, God’s Scribe. Not only does this Scribe lead us through the brambles of Anne’s life, but he intertwines the stories of Rose, a former prostitute and contemporary of Anne, as well as the people who risked their lives to see the Bible translated into the English language. The pages literally singe with the potency of martyrs’ words and blaze with the anger of those in opposition to them. Through it all, the Scribe takes notes…notes that he reads to skeptical, embittered Bridget on her deathbed: Words to give her a second chance.

I was unprepared for the spiritual impact this book had on me. Its fresh writing perspective drew me into the story immediately and the entrance into Anne’s life, as well as King Henry VIII’s, left me second guessing what I’d always believed about the young queen. Although Anne and Rose’s stories clench the emotions and souls of the readers, the most poignant moments in the novel (for me) were the scenes of remarkable sacrifice….the men and women ready to die for what they believed. Their willingness to give their lives for the Word of God caused me to reconsider the preciousness of my Bible and how often I take it for granted. Ginger peels away the safety of time and brings the atrocities, venom, confusion, and hope of that age fresh to our minds. Using Bridget, a woman in this century, she weaves the scarlet thread of God’s love from Jesus’ words to Anne Boleyn to the people of this generation, securing the truth of God’s relentless, timeless love.

The Notes to the Reader at the end of the book are almost as inspiring as the novel. Ginger’s lovely description of her inspiration for the story and her deep response to this inspiration moved me to prayer and contemplation. What a wonderful thought that God’s angels are as close as the ones in this book? That His angels continually keep watch over us! If you choose to read this novel, which I highly recommend, be prepared for more than a casual spectator’s view of the famous people in history and the status of your own heart in light of your discoveries. I can’t wait to read book #2 in this series. Thanks, Ginger!

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