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Forged in the Fire by Ann Turnbull

Forged in the Fire

by Ann Turnbull

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
An interesting book but I expected it to be better.
On a positive note, I liked the characters and the settings. However, the writing style felt stiff and unnatural and I was very tempted not to finish the book at all. Also, quite a lot of the decisions the characters made were plot conveniences and didn't seem natural. ( )
  Gorthalon | Dec 7, 2014 |
This book will keep the reader on the edge of their seat. It has a lot of hitorical facts in it and the facts make it an amazing book! Definitely recommend! :) ( )
  TtTtaylor101 | Feb 1, 2011 |
Reviewed by Mechele R. Dillard for TeensReadToo.com

The streets of 17th-Century London come alive in author Ann Turnbull's FORGED IN THE FIRE. The sequel to Turnbull's 2006 NO SHAME, NO FEAR, this well-written novel stands alone, dually answering readers' current questions while offering just enough ambiguity to pique their interest in the prequel.

Romance is alive and well in the plague-infested streets of 1665 London. But, times are hard and death is rampant, especially for Quakers such as Will and Susanna, who find themselves fighting against a close-minded religious establishment in addition to disease and poverty. Readers are left to breathlessly concede that a happy ending, no matter how deserved, is far from guaranteed.

Turnbull is skilled at entertaining readers while covertly educating them. Her scenes are full and powerful, bringing excitement and history to the forefront, yet never overpowering or heavy-handed. Readers will fall wholeheartedly into the love story of Will and Susanna, while simultaneously aching for the thousands of actual lives truly lost to sickness, disaster and ignorance in the London of yesteryear.

This, readers will understand, was a time of great fear, but not a time beyond equally great faith: "We ate with relish and felt glad to be alive," recalls Will. "The plague was in the city--but danger was always present. We must go about our lives as usual and trust in God" (p. 25). ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 11, 2009 |
Richie's Picks: FORGED IN THE FIRE by Ann Turnbull, Candlewick Press, April 2007, ISBN: 0-7636-3144-3

"Love, don't fear if thou hear nothing from me for a while. The authorities may restrict the post -- and even if they do not, I may hesitate to write to thee for fear the carrier should be infected. Take care to steam any letters from London over boiling vinegar; we are assured it is a preventative..."

"Close your eyes and I'll kiss you
Tomorrow I'll miss you
Remember I'll always be true
And then while I'm away
I'll write home every day
And I'll send all my loving to you."
-- The Beatles, "All My Loving"

Though I was but on the cusp of turning nine, and knew nothing of that sort of love when I first watched Paul McCartney sing the song on Ed Sullivan, I nevertheless experienced shivers that Sunday evening.

Forty-plus years later, I'm contemplating how so many love songs might well be categorized as relating to one of four "stages" of a proverbial love story:

1. Boy and Girl meet.
2. Boy and Girl fall for each other.
3. Boy and Girl become separated.
4. Boy and Girl (hopefully) reunite.

I amused myself during a two-hour drive to school by brainstorming old tunes that speak of love and separation. The Beatles' song clearly relates to the third such stage of the formula. Some other examples (for us old timers):

Summer Loving (from Grease)
So Far Away (Carole King)
Have You Seen Her (The Chi-Lites)
Missing You (John Waite)
Leaving on a Jet Plane (written by John Denver)
Darling Be Home Soon (The Lovin' Spoonful)
I'm So Tired (The Beatles)
Come Monday (Jimmy Buffett)

Now, when you have a gifted YA author employing this formula to craft the story of two young separated lovers, a story set in the distant past, in a foreign land, amidst widespread death, horrific destruction, (and beer for breakfast), you have all the makings of a great read that could well elicit the same sort of shivers that I felt that night in 1964:

"Dear heart, I write this in the evening, after work, and try to picture thee also in thy room in London, perhaps with Nat, eating hot pies from Pudding Lane (for I remember what thou told me of thy habits). As long as I hold thy image in my mind, I can believe thee safe and in good health. I know thou dare not write to me. We receive few letters now, and there are fewer travelers on the road to bring us news, but we know the pestilence still rages and has begun to spread into the country..."

And so having gotten to read FORGED IN THE FIRE, the long-awaited sequel to Ann Turnbull's NO SHAME, NO FEAR, I found myself recalling sentimental songs of love and separation as I traversed bridges and cruised down highways.

In NO SHAME, NO FEAR we encounter the first two stages of the love story: In 1662, at a time when there is widespread and vicious persecution of Quakers in Britain, Will Heywood, the son of a prosperous Anglican, and Susanna Thorn, a young Quaker girl, meet and fall in love. At the conclusion of the NO SHAME, NO FEAR, Will -- who is disowned by his father -- is heading off to London to serve an apprenticeship that will hopefully lead to his having the means to marry Susanna.

In FORGED IN THE FIRE which begins in 1665, Will is in London and missing Susanna while facing the dangers resulting from his adoption of the Quaker religion, AND the deadly grasp of the Plague. And, then, anyone with a knowledge of British history will already know that as the calendar turns to 1666 Will will be on course for coming face to face with The Great Fire of London.

While today's adolescent readers will most likely not be facing such catastrophies as Plague and City-turned-Inferno, they may well find themselves contemplating what it might be like to maintain loyalty to a sweetheart who is geographically distant -- such as going to college in different parts of the country -- while all sorts of life-altering events are taking place.

"His wife shrieked as they took his body away, and I curled myself into a ball, with my hands over my ears, unable to bear it. I was alone, without friends in this place, overcome with grief and guilt. I blamed myself for the deaths of my two friends, believing they might never have been in Newgate if I had not spoken out that day at Blackfriars. I waited now for the sickness to claim me, too, and felt sure it must."

While FORGED IN THE FIRE won't be available until April 2007, NO SHAME NO FEAR has just been released in paperback. Don't miss them.

Richie Partington
http://www.myspace.com/richiespicks BudNotBuddy@aol.com ( )
  richiespicks | May 25, 2009 |
Susanna and Will (from No Shame, No Fear) may finally have a chance to get married. Will has job prospects and is looking for lodgings in London. But when the plague traps him in the city, their plans are thrown into question. And as their love story grows more complicated, it gets closer and closer to the summer of 1666 - and the Great Fire of London.

There were a lot of great things about this book. The characterization - particularly of Susannah - is three-dimensional and not in the least bit stereotypical. She is strong in her faith, but preoccupied with sex (in a very realistic teenager way). She is headstrong, independent, but devoted to Will. I love that she decides to get work, that she has moments of doubt about her choice to come to London. She's just a really well-rounded character. Will is less distinct in my eyes, but he still has his complexities. He's faithful with the zeal of the converted, but he misses his old life of music, beauty, and wealth.

The details of daily life - the sights and smells were well-described, but at the same time I didn't get the same sense of time and place that comes in the best historical fiction. Although the Great Fire happened in the background, it didn't seem to be as important or devastating as I felt it must have been to those who lived through it.

Plus the love story seemed a little off to me. After all, they only met once for an hour before determining they were madly in love. The rest of their relationship was built up through letters - but that was in a previous novel, so I had none of that sharing of hearts and souls. So the fact that they were so dedicated to one another seemed very weird to me. I mean, I know plenty about long-distance relationships, both how difficult they are and how intimate letters can be, but only one meeting just didn't seem like it would be enough to decide to wed. And under the circumstances, I wanted their relationship to hit more bumps. Once they were actually together and living together, their relationship was portrayed as completely blissful - when really that kind of move should have pulled some of the romantic glaze from their situation. It's hard suddenly being tied so exclusively to someone and being with them all the time. That should have showed.

I didn't much care for the portions where the narrative dwelled on the persecution of the Quakers - not because I don't think it's an important story to address, but at times it seemed remarkably self-righteous to preach of tolerance while refusing to even refer to St. Paul's as a church ('steeple-house', really?). I had issues with the language; the 'thees' and 'thous' just didn't seem quite right to me. The verbs weren't changed in the way I expected (thou WILT, people), and that's just one of my pet peeves.

So - I think this is a very nice story for young adults, but it just didn't gel with my worldview.

Also posted at my blog ( )
  Caramellunacy | Sep 16, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0763631442, Hardcover)

Star-crossed young lovers triumph over religious intolerance, social disgrace and epic historical events in this thrilling sequel

London, 1665. Cast out by his father for becoming a Quaker, the newly independent Will travels from the countryside to London to earn a living. He and his beloved Susanna wait patiently to be reunited and, at last, married. But when Will is thrown into jail for his beliefs, the pair’s future becomes uncertain. With the plague spreading closer and the scent of smoke on the wind, can their love still bring them together despite the most terrifying twists of fate? Will and Susanna’s timeless romance continues in this powerful sequel to NO SHAME, NO FEAR.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:37 -0400)

After spending three years apart, eighteen-year-old Susanna is eager to be reunited with her fiance Will who is due to arrive from London so that they can be married, but it is the summer of 1665 and, unbeknownst to Susanna, the plague is beginning to spread throughout the city.… (more)

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Candlewick Press

An edition of this book was published by Candlewick Press.

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