The Mercy Seller by Brenda Rickman Vantrease
Anna is the granddaughter of a Lollard illuminator and book-seller living in Prague. When religious officials in the city begin cracking down on this heresy, Anna loses both her intended husband and her grandfather in a short period of time and begins a treck west towards England – where her grandfather told her to search out Sir John Oldham – with a band of gypsies. Stopping in France, Anna meets and falls in love with a man who is not quite what he seems.
This book was interesting and well-written, but it didn’t exactly blow me away. Most interesting was definitely the plot most directly surrounding the persecution of the Lollards by the church and the beliefs of those who were willing to risk their lives to read and disseminate the Bible in English. Least interesting, probably Anna’s trip to France and, to a lesser extent, her time in France. Once Anna arrived in England the story picked up much more for me.
I think that part of my problem was that I didn’t realize that this was a sequel. By and large it is a stand-alone book, but there were moments when certain characters harkened back to events in the previous book, which I had not read. I suspect that if I had even known this information, even if I still had not read Vantrease’s previous book, this wouldn’t have bothered me so much.
This isn’t a book I would encourage anyone to run out and buy, unless perhaps you’re very interested in the situation between the Catholic Church and the Lollards, but I would recommend picking it up if you see it at your library, or for a good price.