My Review of Corinna Turner’s “The Siege of Reginald Hill”

The Siege of Reginald Hill

by Corinna Turner

An odd surge filled my heart as I looked at him, sitting there in that chair: so old; so evil; so broken; so… alone. A warmth. A caring. A… love. I loved him. Just another poor sinner who need my care…

SAFETY IS NOT THE ABSENCE OF DANGER, BUT THE PRESENCE OF GOD.

Fr Kyle Verrall is living a quiet life as a parish priest in Africa when he’s snatched from his church one night by armed assailants. He’s in big trouble—his sister’s worst enemy is hell-bent on taking revenge on the famous Margaret Verrall by killing her brother, just as slowly and horribly as he can.

What could possibly save him? The humble young priest is defenseless—or so Reginald Hill believes.

But Kyle has a powerful weapon Hill knows nothing about. And he’s not afraid to use it.

Is Reginald Hill really the hunter?
Or is he the hunted?

MY REVIEW

In this new I Am Margaret installment, Margaret’s brother, Kyle, is a priest in Africa. But after being kidnapped by the notorious—and heartless—Reginald Hill, he’s pushed to his limit. Will he betray God in the midst of his suffering?
It’s not often that a story remains in my mind. There are a few that I’ll never forget even though it’s been years since I read them. Henry James’ “The Beast in the Jungle” and C. S. Lewis’ “The Great Divorce,” and now Corinna Turner’s The Siege of Reginald Hill. An extremely powerful example of what it really means to love our enemies, this novel provokes a whirlwind of emotions. Turner is an amazing storyteller who really delves into the souls of her characters and then relays their every emotion so that we too can connect with them and empathize with their plight.
Sharing God’s love and amazing forgiveness, Turner reminds all Catholics about the depths we must all go to sacrifice in order to really love. I highly recommend this story to young adults!

Check it out below: Buy Now, Blog Tour Schedule, About the Author, and find Corinna Turner on the the web and social media.

Buy Now

As a paperback or eBook

Blog Tour Schedule

Dec 1 – Stop 1 – Corinna Turner – Author of the I Am Margaret series including new release The Siege of Reginald Hill – www.IAmMargaret.com

Dec 3 – Stop 2 – Steven R. McEvoy – Blogger and Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer Steven R. McEvoy on “Book Reviews & More” – www.bookreviewsandmore.ca

Dec 4 – Stop 3 – Erin McCole Cupp – Blogger, Contributor to Catholic Mom and Author (Jane E. Friendless Orphan series, etc.) – http://catholicmom.com/

Dec 5 – Stop 4 – Regina Doman – Award-winning Catholic teen fiction Author (The Fairy Tale novels, The Angel in the Waters, etc.) – http://reginadoman.blogspot.com/

Dec 6 – Stop 5 – Theresa Linden – Award-winning Catholic teen fiction Author (Liberty series, West Brothers series, etc.) – www.theresalinden.com/

Dec 7 – Stop 6 – Sarah de Nordwall – The Catholic Bard! – http://sarahdenordwall.blogspot.com/

Dec 8 – Stop 7 – T.M. Gaouette – Writer, Blogger, and Author of Catholic Fiction (Faith and Kung Fu series) – https://tmgaouette.com/

Dec 10 – Stop 8 – Carolyn Astfalk – Author of coming-of-age romance Rightfully Ours, etc. – www.carolynastfalk.com/

Dec 11 – Stop 9 – Leslea Wahl – Award-winning Catholic teen fiction Author (The Perfect BlindsideAn Unexpected Role, etc.) – http://lesleawahl.com/

Dec 12 – Stop 10 – Elizabeth Amy Hajek – Blogger and Author of The Mermaid and the Unicorn – https://elenatintil.blogspot.com

About the Author

CORINNA TURNER has been writing since she was fourteen and likes strong protagonists with plenty of integrity. She has an MA in English from Oxford University, but has foolishly gone on to work with both children and animals! Juggling work with the disabled and being a midwife to sheep, she spends as much time as she can in a little hut at the bottom of the garden, writing.

She is a Catholic Christian with roots in the Methodist and Anglican churches. A keen cinema-goer, she lives in the UK with her classic campervan ‘Toby’ (short for Tobias!), her larger and more expensive substitute for her lovely Giant African Land Snail, Peter, who sadly passed away in October 2016.

Social Media

Connect with Corinna Turner:

​website: www.iammargaret.co.uk

Facebook author page

Twitter: @CorinnaTAuthor

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2018 Christmas Gift Ideas From the Authors at CatholicTeenBooks.com

With Christmas hot on our heels, we’re all scrambling for gift ideas for our tweens and teens. Picking a gift for a child this age can be a struggle. They’re usually not into toys,  clothes are considered boring —for boys, anyway—and devices and electronics? Well, research is proving those to be an unhealthy option. So then what?

Well, we at CatholicTeenBooks.com offer some exciting alternatives. How about a good book? Sure, to some that sounds boring. But we’re not suggesting boring books! We’re suggesting exciting adventures, fun mysteries, and heart-pounding fantasies. In fact, there’s a genre for every taste! And these stories don’t end on the last page, because with each comes hope, inspiration, encouragement, morality, and just plain goodness—virtues your children can take into the world and help make it godlier.

Strengthen your teens’ faith, one book at a time…check out the author gift ideas here!

“Where You Lead” by Leslea Wahl: A Great Addition to Your Home-School History Curriculum

Sixteen-year-old Eve Donahue’s lonely existence changes in an instant when visions of a mysterious stranger haunt her. Certain God is calling her for a mission, she bravely says yes and begins her quest to meet this young man.

Thousands of miles away, Nick Hammond has been dealing with his own unusual experience, an unwavering certainness to convince his father to run for political office.

When these two unlikely teens finally meet, their belief that God has called them to work together sets them on a journey of faith to untangle a web of deception involving international trade agreements, lost confederate gold, and a blossoming romance. As they follow century old clues, they realize God can call us all in big and small ways. We just need to listen and say “Yes Lord, I will go where You lead.”

MY REVIEW:

Leslea Wahl’s newest release Where You Lead is a fun adventure that takes the reader on an exciting journey through American history. With colorful characters, witty dialogue, and a search for lost treasure, Wahl knows how to keep the reader on the edge of his seat. My favorite character was the grumpy elderly neighbor, and the interaction between her and the main character Eve was very entertaining.

A suspenseful mystery with tons of twists and turns and a dollop of romance, Where You Lead is a wonderful reminder that God has a plan, and if you follow His will, He will lead you to where you are needed most. What a great addition this book would be to a home-school history curriculum.

WHERE YOU LEAD for HOME-SCHOOL HISTORY

Where You Lead is a fun, adventurous YA novel filled with mystery, Christian values, and could be a great book to add to lesson plans about American history. The story is set in Washington DC and is full of ideas for students to explore. Here are a few to consider.

1 – In the book, the main characters set out on a treasure hunt for lost confederate gold. Students could investigate the different aspects of the civil war.

2 – Eve and Nick become involved with someone who lives in one of the embassies along Embassy Row. Students could explore the rich history of these grand manors in Washington DC and how they became embassies. They could even choose a country to research.

3 – One of the prominent buildings in the story is the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Students could study President Kennedy and even why this theater was dedicated to his memory.

4 – There are many locations that Nick and Eve visit that are named after famous people from our past. Students could choose one to research: The Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, The Francis Scott Key Bridge, Roosevelt Island, Jefferson Memorial, and the Smithsonian Museum.

Giveaway

Where You Lead treasure hunt
Buy Now

On Kindle or in paperback on Amazon

Book Trailer

About the Author

Leslea Wahl
I’m Leslea Wahl. For as long as I can remember I have been a creator of stories with ideas swirling through my head. I am thrilled now to be able to share some of them with others. For many years I have been driven by a belief that our purpose in life is to use our gifts to glorify God and lead others to Him. I am blessed to have found a way to intertwine my two passions by creating adventurous stories with positive Christian messages for today’s youth. Not only do I hope to entertain with my writing, but also to inspire others to find their gifts as well.

Twitter: LesleaWahl

SECRETS: VISIBLE & INVISIBLE Blog Tour Stop 10 – Dreams, Aspirations, and God’s will for you!

Secrets Blog Tour

“My name’s Francesca, I’m going to be a nun, so don’t fall in love with me.”

Watch the clip below to find out what this statement is all about, how it relates to our recently released anthology SECRETS: VISIBLE & INVISIBLE, how dreams, aspirations, and God’s will  fit into the equation, and what each of the contributing authors wanted to be when they were teens! (One wanted to be a fighter pilot!)

Trust me! There is a connection. A point will be made. And secrets will be shared.

Secrets: Visible & Invisible

by Corinna Turner, Cynthia T. Toney, Theresa Linden, Susan Peek, T.M. Gaouette, Carolyn Astfalk, and Leslea Wahl

A  collection of short stories by seven CatholicTeenBooks.com authors. As described by Mark Hart of Life Teen International, who provides the foreword, “Each story reveals something different about the human heart and our constant (though, often veiled) desire for truth and virtue.”

Secret (n.) – something kept hidden from knowledge or view; a mystery.

  • In a dystopian future, an innocent picnic turns deadly!
  • Elijah knows nothing of an elderly stranger’s secret past—until her disappearance changes everything.
  • A mysterious, ever-changing painting alarms a group of teens.
  • A cannonball took Dario’s legs . . . Will he lose his soul too?
  • The arrival of a mysterious girl challenges everything about Jason’s life.
  • An unlicensed driver. His dad’s truck. What could possibly go wrong?
  • An old tale of murder and forbidden love leads to a modern-day treasure hunt.

“For nothing is hid that shall not be made manifest, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17 RSV-CE)

Buy Now

As an ebook:
Google Books
Kindle
Kobo
Barnes and Noble (Nook)

In paperback:
Amazon

Jump ahead: Book TrailerAdvance ReviewsBlog Tour ScheduleAbout the Authors, and find Catholic Teen Books on the the web and social media.

Book Trailer

Advance Reviews

“There is a little something for everyone in Secrets, a short-story anthology for Catholic teens. Seven authors cover an array of genres, including dystopian, historical fiction, and romance, while masterfully developing interesting characters and meaningful storylines. Faith is thoughtfully woven into the plots that also creatively incorporate mystery, intrigue, and heart-felt emotion. Fans of these Catholic teen authors will appreciate reading new stories about familiar characters. And first-time readers will be eager to read more in the full-length novels by their new favorite authors.”

Sarah Damm, mom of 6 and writer at sarahdamm.com

“This anthology of short stories for Catholic teenagers is a true literary treasure. It provides genres for every type of reader, each so well written that the reader is invited to fully escape into many different worlds and places. The short stories will take its readers to dystopian Europe, high school hallways, a city block in summer, and a soldier’s medical ward in 16th-century Italy, just to name a few. The characters are diverse, exciting, relatable; their adventures are accessible, mysterious and enthralling. But within these different settings, there is one uniting comfort: God is always there, whether revealed in a desperate prayer to a guardian angel, through pure romantic love, the presence of Christian charity, men and women religious, or within the sacraments. The hope that comes through Catholicism and Jesus prevails in each vignette, and yet there are still heavy doses of drama, suspense and tactful violence. So if your teens seem totally spaced out and properly engrossed, take courage knowing their love of reading and their love of the faith is being fed through these beautiful stories.”

Regina Lordan for Catholic News Service

​“This anthology of Catholic fiction for teens will introduce readers to seven diverse authors. Many of these stories, in a variety of genres but linked by a common theme, offer a peek at characters from full-length novels. Readers already acquainted with these authors will enjoy new perspectives on favorite characters. Kudos to CatholicTeenBooks.com and these seven authors for dreaming up this excellent collection.”

Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS, Editor, CatholicMom.com and Managing Editor, Today’s Catholic Teacher magazine

​“Featuring seven fabulous stories from top authors in Catholic teen fiction, Secrets is as entertaining as it is relevant and thought-provoking. It’s sure to capture your imagination, move your emotions, and stir your soul. Teens and adults alike are sure to enjoy the variety of tales, which are cleverly united by themes of secrets and faith. Packed with powerful, meaningful, memorable stories, this anthology is so good, you won’t be able to keep Secrets to yourself!”

Therese Heckenkamp, Christian suspense author of bestseller Frozen Footprints

​“Seven Amazing Secrets . . . At a time when so much entertainment and fiction for teens is saturated with envy, lust, pride and other moral toxins, the book Secrets: Visible and Invisible is a powerful, and FUN-to-read, virtue-rich alternative. The talented team of authors behind CatholicTeenBooks.com has created the perfect way for readers to enjoy a taste of fresh new fiction that satisfies a deep hunger in the teen soul. Teens . . . you need to get your Catholic parents, grandparents, or teachers to get this book for you. Really. You’ll be glad you did.”

Cathy Gilmore, Founder/Executive Director of VirtueWorksMedia.com

​“I knew I was in for some great reading when I picked up this collection. What I was not prepared for was how exceptional this collection was. . . . Every story was a remarkable story. Some of the stories were so good, I immediately went back and reread just that story. And then when I finished the book, I reread the whole thing again a few days later. I have a great deal of respect for the seven authors who contributed to this series. And even more so after reading their pieces in this collection.”

Steven R. McEvoy, blogger at Book Reviews & More

“Know a teen reader looking for a book filled with the unexpected? Look no further than Secrets: Visible & Invisible an anthology of 7 short stories from CatholicTeenBooks.com. From tales of bicycles to cars and even a saint standing on the threshold of the “dark side”, there’s plenty here for teen readers to sink their teeth into.”

Pete Socks, The Catholic Book Blogger

Blog Tour Schedule

July 4 – Steve R. McEvoy, Book Reviews and More

July 5 – Leslea Wahl, Leslea Wahl

July 6 – Barb Szyszkiewicz, FranciscanMom

July 7 – Shower of Roses, Shower of Roses

July 8 – Carolyn Astfalk, My Scribbler’s Heart

July 9 – Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur, Spiritual Woman  Sarah Damm, Sarah Damm

July 10 – Corinna Turner,  Unseen Books

July 11 – Christina Weigand, Palace of Twelve Pillars

July 12 – Theresa Linden, Things Visible & Invisible

July 13 – T.M. Gaouette, T.M. Gaouette

July 14 – Karina Fabian, Fabianspace

July 16 – Therese Heckenkamp, Therese Heckenkemp

July 17 – Ellen Gable Hrkach, Plot Line & Sinker  CatholicMom, CatholicMom

July 18 – Virginia Lieto, Virginia Lieto

About the Authors

CORINNA TURNER is the author of the I Am Margaret series for young adults, as well as stand-alone works such as Drive! and Elfling (for teens) and Someday (for older teens and adults). All of her novels have received the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval (except new releases for which the Seal may be in process).Liberation (‘I Am Margaret’ Book 3) was nominated for the Carnegie Medal Award 2016 and won 3rd place for ‘Teen and Young Adult Fiction’ in the Catholic Press Association 2016 Book Awards. I Am Margaret was one of two runners-up for the ‘Teenage and Children’s Fiction’ Catholic Arts and Letters Award 2016.

Corinna Turner is a Lay Dominican with an MA in English from Oxford University, and lives in the UK. She has been writing since she was fourteen and likes strong protagonists with plenty of integrity. She used to have a Giant African Land Snail called Peter with a 6½” long shell—which is legal in the UK!—but now makes do with a cactus and a campervan. You can find out more at www.IAmMargaret.com.

CYNTHIA T. TONEY writes for preteens and teens because she wants them to know how wonderful, powerful, and valuable God made them. Her novels employ hope and humor to address some of the serious issues young people encounter.

Cynthia is the author of the Bird Face contemporary series, including 8 Notes to a Nobody10 Steps to Girlfriend Status6 Dates to Disaster, and soon, 3 Things to Forget. A coming-of-age historical, The Other Side of Freedom, is set in a 1920s farming community. Her novels have appeared on numerous Catholic bloggers’ Top 5, 10, or 20 book lists and favorites lists. They have also been featured in Catholic Teacher magazine.

She is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild and whichever author association or writing guild is available in the state in which she might currently reside, which so far has stretched across the southern U.S. to Texas.  She has a passion for rescuing dogs from animal shelters and lives with her husband and several canines. She loves hearing from readers, who can connect with her through her website, www.CynthiaTToney.com.

THERESA LINDEN is the author of the Chasing Liberty dystopian trilogy and the West Brothers series, including Catholic Press Association award-winners Roland West, Loner and Battle for His Soul. She resides in Ohio with her husband and their three teen sons. A Secular Franciscan and a member of the Catholic Writers Guild, her faith inspires the belief that there is no greater adventure than the realities we can’t see, the spiritual side of life. She hopes that her stories will spark her readers’ imaginations and awaken them to the power of faith and grace. Learn more about her and find her social media links at www.TheresaLinden.com.

SUSAN PEEK is the author of the young adult series, God’s Forgotten Friends: Lives of Little-known Saints. All of her novels received the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval and are used in Catholic schools across the English-speaking world. The King’s Prey: Saint Dymphna of Ireland was voted one of the Top 10 Best Catholic Books of 2017 and Crusader King was listed with The 50 Best Catholic Homeschooling Books of 2013. Although Susan’s first love is writing for teens, she’s also authored several children’s books.

Susan is a Third Order Franciscan and mother of eleven children, including two in the Religious life and a son in the U.S. Air Force. She lives in Kansas, where she usually has her nose in a book, finding obscure saints to write about.

You can visit her at www.SusanPeekAuthor.com.

T. M. GAOUETTE is the author of the Faith & Kung Fuseries for young adults, as well as The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch. A member of the Catholic Writers Guild, her novels Freeing Tanner Roseand Saving Faith have received the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval. (Others are in the process). Born in Africa, raised in London, England, Gaouette now lives on a small farm in New England with her husband where she home-schools her four children and raises goats.

A former contributor on Project Inspired, she now writes fiction for teens and young adults. Her desire is to instill the love of God into the hearts of her readers. You can find out more at www.TMGaouette.com.

CAROLYN ASTFALK writes from The Sweetest Place on Earth, Hershey, Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband and four children. In addition to her contemporary Catholic romances (sometimes referred to as Theology of the Body fiction), including the young adult coming-of-age story Rightfully Ours, she writes for CatholicMom.com and Today’s Catholic Teacher. When she’s not washing dishes, doing laundry, or reading, you can find her blogging about books, family life, and faith at www.CarolynAstfalk.com.

LESLEA WAHL lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband and children. The furry, four-legged members of her family often make cameo appearances in her novels. Leslea’s writing career began when she was searching for faith-inspired books for her own children and the idea for her first novel popped into her head. That divine inspiration has led to a successful writing ministry that she hopes encourages teens to grow in their faith through fun adventures. For more information about her faith-filled young adult mysteries, visit www.LesleaWahl.com.

Social Media

Find all of these authors and others at: CatholicTeenBooks.com.

On Facebook, join the Books for Catholic Teens Group. On Instagram, follow Books for Catholic Teens.

Nominate Award-Winning Author, Corinna Turner’s “ELFLING” For A Chance To Win A Copy!


Alone on the streets of London, young Serapia Ravena seeks the Duke she believes to be her father; her only hope of survival…

Thirteen-year-old Lady Serapia Ravena has lived as an urchin on the streets of London since her mother’s death. Thrown from the house by her uncle, her only companion is her strange little pet, the ‘lizard chick’ Raven. Her only hope is a ring, and her mother’s dying command, ‘find the Duke of Albany’. But she has sought him in vain for years.

When the elusive Duke suddenly returns to the city, Serapia finds a loving father, and a wealthy, powerful one too. He thwarts her uncle’s murderous plans, and her life seems to have righted itself, with only happiness in store.

But it soon becomes clear that her father hides a dark secret, one that threatens his very life, and his very soul. The search for his salvation will carry Serapia hundreds of leagues, to the heart of the wild places, and to the fort of the elfin, bringing her face to face with her own mysterious heritage.

‘I was instantly drawn in’ – EOIN COLFER, author of Artemis Fowl

For your chance to win a FREE KINDLE COPY of ELFLING…

Corinna Turner’s new novel, ELFLING, is currently under consideration for a contract with Kindle. Kindle wants to know which books readers actually want to read, so they invite readers to let them know by nominating books via Kindle Scout. Readers who nominate ELFLING will get a free Kindle copy if Kindle takes on the book. Click here to check out/nominate ELFLING. DEADLINE: December 26, 2017.

Read the excerpt for more! 

raven

Chapter 1—Raven

I was hungry. So hungry that most eleven-year-old girls of my rank would have been crying, throwing a tantrum, or fainting. Perhaps all three. Not me. I was thinking what to do about my hunger. I began each day with the same all-consuming thought.

I sat on a thin blanket under the overhang of an old, crooked stone house. I had to bend my head to sit up, but I scarcely registered the minor discomfort. Rain splashed from the eaves to the cobbles of the street only a few feet in front of my nose, but under here it was fairly dry; a good sleeping place. I contemplated the various possible solutions to this particular morning’s hunger, until a tiny scuffling noise preceded a whiskered nose from a narrow crack in the wall. When I remained motionless, the rat scurried almost soundlessly to the side of the blanket, attracted by a few crumbs so tiny even I hadn’t noticed them.

My hands shot out and seized the rat, wrapping around its plump body. Ignoring the squealing and the snapping teeth, I gripped the head and twisted, feeling the sudden give as the vertebrae in its neck parted company. Laying the twitching rodent beside me, a rare smile snuck onto my face.

So early in the morning and I had already acquired my day’s meal! I would take the rat down to the Scrinny Lane cookhouse, where I would skin it, cook it, and eat it. The bones would go to Old Joe the gluemaker as payment; the skin to the skin man in return for a precious half copper. In the new language I had learned since my mother’s death, a half copper equaled a piece of bread. If I was extravagant, I would eat it for supper. Otherwise it would go some way towards staving off the hunger on the morrow.

The smile fading, I shuffled to one side, picked up the blanket and knotted it around my shoulders like a cloak. The rat I tucked out of sight in my jacket. Its body still jerked slightly, still refused the truth. I wriggled out into the street, straightened and froze.

Two urchins stood waiting. Unlike me, who merely dressed as a boy, these were actual boys, bigger than I. Born in the gutter and never slept on a feather bed in their lives. They would cut my throat for the rat.

“We heard a squeaking,” said one boy, holding out a hand, his eyes cold.

“Do you see anything?” I said—running even before I had finished speaking.

The boys followed close on my heels. So close that when my bare foot slipped from under me on a slimy cobblestone the first was on me immediately. As I fell I caught sight of a mangy dog lurking by the side of the street. I struck the ground painfully, one hand already inside my jacket. The boy landed on top of me, a knife appearing in his hand like magic. Dragging the rat free I flung it towards the dog, which moved in a brown streak. The urchin had a choice of cutting my throat or getting the rat. It was no choice at all; he was already in mid-air after the meal. Back on my feet even as the rat struck the ground, I bolted.

I stopped in the comparative shelter of a lopsided building, wet, tired and sore. I didn’t bother contemplating the downturn in the day’s fortunes, too busy checking over my clothing. My knees and elbow were badly bruised, but nothing was torn, so I headed for a disreputable inn I knew where the landlord did not keep a porter on and usually allowed me to earn a few pence carrying the luggage.

When I arrived, the cheap coach was throwing out a passenger at the door. It was nothing personal; that was just how the cheap coaches went about things. The passenger, having gained the cobbles, ducked as his two cases were thrown down beside him. The coachman flogged his broken-down horses for a good few seconds before they were convinced to move and the coach swayed unsteadily away through the wet streets of London town.

I was already in motion. Stopping beside the passenger I put on my stolid, dependable expression and, with a tug of my forelock, took hold of the cases.

“I’ll get those, sir,” I said, in my feigned gutter accent. Was it really feigned? When had I last spoken as myself?

The traveler did not want to spend money on a bag boy, I could tell. He had planned to carry them quickly into the inn himself. Recoiling from appearing miserly when actually put to it, with a poor attempt at grace he gave me a curt nod and entered the inn, looking back only three times to check the luggage was following.

I dragged the heavy cases up the stairs, appreciating why the man had ducked their descent from the coach top. But my scrawny frame was up to it, and I set them down carefully in the room and waited. I only ever stuck my hand out as a last resort, it frequently seemed to do more harm than good. The traveler noticed my continued presence with a flash of irritation, dug a coin from his purse and threw it in my general direction.

I caught it and left quickly. It was a good-sized copper, and I was hungry enough that I went straight down to the inn kitchen and swapped it for a half copper and a chunk of bread. Retreating to the inn courtyard to eat my meal and watch for the next traveler, I eyed another urchin lingering there. Did he also have the landlord’s permission to carry bags?

The bread was finished all too quickly, as always, and I sat wishing another traveler would arrive. More at that moment for the distraction from my own thoughts, than for the coin I could earn. Only when I had some amount of food in my belly was I troubled by thoughts of the future. It was the only time I could afford to be.

I had lasted three years on the streets, three long, painful years since my mother died and my uncle threw me from the place that had always been my home.

“Be gone, witch child,” he’d snarled at me, “or I’ll duck you in the pond till you’re clean and cold.”

Even at eight years old I’d recognized a death threat when I heard one and I hadn’t tried to go back. Of course, I had always known my uncle hated me, but to be thrown from my own home to what should’ve been almost certain death? It had been utterly unexpected. The house in which my uncle now lived was mine, was it not? My rank came to me from my mother and there was nothing legal to take the property away from me.

Legally, though, my uncle was my guardian. No doubt he assumed me dead long since and it was a fair assumption. Serapion the urchin had no more chance of reclaiming what belonged to Lady Serapia Ravena than the morning’s rat had of breathing again.

In fact, Serapion the urchin had only one chance in the world and it was tied around my waist, carefully concealed under my clothing…

I looked up as the kitchen staff burst from the doorway, chattering excitedly to one another and followed by the cook, who swept something ahead of her with an expression of grim courage. They were calling for the landlord and I darted over to see what the to-do was about, slipping to the front. I’d have seized any distraction.

The heap of ash was tipped over the doorstep onto the cobbles of the yard. The landlord came striding out of the building even as I crouched to peer more closely at the tiny creature floundering weakly in the midst of the soot. As grey as ash, it resembled a bird, for it had a curved, beaky upper lip and a pair of little things that were clearly undeveloped wings on its back. But it was entirely featherless and had two tiny front paws, just now making feeble movements in the ash. Fragments of broken, blackened eggshell lay around it, showing it to be newborn. Or rather, new-hatched. I had never seen anything so intriguing.

“A demon-creature, sir, a demon-creature in the fire…”

“I was sweeping out the grate, sir, and I sees it…”

“It ain’t nat’ral, sir, ain’t right…”

“Shall we have a priest, sir? Don’t like the thought of it otherwise…”

A priest? Whatever for? I’d sensed evil often enough, and there was nothing of it here. But I’d learned long ago that other people just didn’t seem able to sense things as I could. Even my mother couldn’t. I had stopped mentioning my strange sensitivity only a short time after learning how to talk about it at all.

The landlord leant over to scrutinize the ‘demon-creature’. “Evilest looking blighter I ever did see,” he pronounced, “but soon sorted.” He raised his foot. His intent was obvious.

The baby animal raised its head and peered around with a pair of huge golden eyes. It gave a little cough and a cloud of ash came from its beak. It must be half choked. Without even considering it, I reached out and snatched it from the path of the landlord’s foot.

The assembled group turned a look of astonishment on me and the landlord swelled with rage. “You impudent little…” He took a step towards me.

For the second time that day, I ran for my life. Or in this case, the life of the creature I held pressed to my chest. I would survive a beating, it would not.

The landlord did not pursue me beyond his inn gates, but his furious shout followed, ringing in my ears. “If you ever come back…”

An inn without a porter was rare. One where I was trusted to carry bags was rarer still. I had lost the closest thing to a real job I had ever achieved, and for what? A deformed chick? I must be mad. Panting and heart pounding, I slipped into an alley and sank down on the cobbles to take a closer look at just what I had saved.

My hands were filthy with soot and the chick, or whatever it was, still grey, so that must be its natural color. It could not be a chick, I realized, as I looked more closely. Apart from its four legs it also had a tail, a very lizard-like tail. Its little, clawed front feet scrabbled gently at my thumb in a way that reminded me of a mouse. It could hold things in them, I suspected. It was, I concluded with a sense of shock, some rare exotic creature from across the seas. How its egg had come to end up in the inn fireplace was a question I did not even bother pondering. But if it was rare and from far away, then it was worth an enormous amount of money.

I looked at the tiny thing again. It fitted snugly in my palm, leathery hide soft against my skin. I’d never get close enough to the nobility to sell it for a pet. I’d have to sell to a middleman and it would go to an apothecary to be dried and powdered for potions. And much as I usually ignored the fact, I was terribly, achingly lonely. The creature raised its head again and gave another little cough, and I knew I could not sell it. It was mine and I would keep it. It would not eat much.

Talking of food… I looked again at my new companion in distress. It would need milk, or something… I tucked it securely inside my jacket for warmth and set off once more along the streets. Climbing up some abandoned scaffolding to the rooftops, I entered the attic of a deserted house through a hole in the roof. The rotten floor groaned under my weight, but I moved lightly to a pile of old rugs in a dry area of the room. There, curled in a little nest, lay a cat and her five kittens. The mother cat regarded me warily with yellow eyes, but did not run or move to attack. The cat and I had shared the loft on many a night.

Now I put my handful down carefully at the edge of the nest and crouched there, watching, ready to snatch it back out if the cat tried to harm it. This was a very long shot, and I knew it. The creature was unlikely to know how to get to the food on its own, for one thing, and the mother cat might try to savage it if it got close. I’d probably have to catch the cat and hold her down while carefully guiding the lizard-chick to the teat. But I wouldn’t do it immediately when there was just the feeblest chance I wouldn’t have to shatter the trust that existed between us.

The lizard-chick peered around, coughing again. Its babyish gaze travelled from me to the mother cat and it swayed forward unsteadily, opening its beaky mouth again to let out a soft, quavering cry not unlike those of the kittens. The mother cat went on watching me, seeming scarcely aware of the intruder now easing its way slowly, but persistently, in among her brood. Finally the lizard-chick’s mouth closed around a teat and it began to swallow. Every so often it released its mouthful to give the kittenish cry again. The cat still did not react.

I watched in something close to wonderment. The mother cat hadn’t noticed the interloper, of that I felt sure, and the back of my neck prickled in the way I associated with my odd senses. My new pet intrigued me more and more.

Although I usually avoided staying in the same sleeping place for more than one night at a time, I remained in the loft for over a week. By then, desperate to sleep elsewhere, I began to consider coming to the loft in the daytime to let my pet feed. But my problem was solved when my casual offering of a crumb of bread was eagerly swallowed by the lizard-chick.

“You don’t need milk any more, huh?” I said, stroking under the soft leathery chin. “Well, time for a name, I suppose…”

I turned my pet around in my hands. I had already established as well as I could that the lizard-chick was female, something most young noblewomen could not have done. Now I considered the question of a name. The baby was still a uniform grey all over, apart from her beautiful golden eyes.

“You are quite like a bird,” I mused softly. “And you’re mine. I’m a Ravena, in name, at least. Ravens are black not grey, but you’re close, and there are girl ravens as well as boy ravens. I’ll call you Raven. Then you’re part of me.”

 


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Corinna Turner has been writing since she was fourteen and likes strong protagonists with plenty of integrity. She has an MA in English from Oxford University, but has foolishly gone on to work with both children and animals! Juggling work with the disabled and being a midwife to sheep, she spends as much time as she can in a little hut at the bottom of the garden, writing. She is a Catholic Christian with roots in the Methodist and Anglican churches. A keen cinema-goer, she lives in the UK with her classic campervan ‘Toby’ (short for Tobias!), her larger and more expensive substitute for her lovely Giant African Land Snail, Peter, who sadly passed away in October 2016.

Check out her books on www.CatholicTeenBooks.com or visit her website!

Win a Copy of Theresa Linden’s “Standing Strong”: Book 4 in West Brothers Series!

Standing Strong, the next in the young adult West Brothers series comes out on the Feast of St. Francis, October 4th. And you have a chance to win a copy!!!

  Book blurb:

STANDING STRONG

When the path is not clear…
When temptation is near…
When God speaks in a whisper you can barely hear…

Ever since that life-changing night in the canyon, Jarret has felt the presence of the Lord in his soul. Now that presence is fading. Is it his fault? How will he remain faithful without it when he still struggles against the same temptations?
​Questioning whether he has a true calling, Keefe reads everything he can about St. Francis and the Franciscans, but he’s afraid to talk to his father about an upcoming discernment retreat because his father seems closed to faith. Is he ready to go all in?

Standing Strong is a beautiful testament to how God works—in the whispers, in the quiet moments, in the gentle guidance of our hearts. It’s a reminder that Jesus is with us in ways we may never understand, and that, if we allow it, the Holy Spirit will give us the strength to stand strong for God!”

~Lisa Mayer, author of The Aletheian Journeys Series

   Enter the contest: To enter this awesome giveaway, visit Theresa Linden’s website!

OR click image to pre-order your copy 


Author bio:
Theresa Linden is the author of award-winning Roland West, Loner and Battle for His Soul, from her series of Catholic teen fiction. An avid reader and writer since grade school, she grew up in a military family. Moving every few years left her with the impression that life is an adventure. Her Catholic faith inspires the belief that there is no greater adventure than the reality we can’t see, the spiritual side of life. She hopes that the richness, depth, and mystery of the Catholic faith will spark her readers’ imagination of the invisible realities and the power of faith and grace. A member of the Catholic Writers Guild and the International Writers Association, Theresa lives in northeast Ohio with her husband, three boys, and one dog.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theresalindenauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindenTheresa
Website: http://www.theresalinden.com

Teaching Virtues Through Fiction Series: Faith

Find out what the Teaching Virtues Through Fiction Series is all about!

I think it’s safe to say that faith plays a fundamental role in all Christian fiction, even if the virtue is an underlying theme. You have to have faith in some capacity, otherwise the fiction itself would not be Christian.  But what is faith?

Faith is not a virtue easily defined. In one way, faith is our belief in God. In another way, faith is the trust we have in Him.  Faith doesn’t come from what we Catholics have seen as evidence. Instead, faith comes from what we have learned from scripture, the apostles’ evidence, our church teachings, saint stories, and so on.

Faith is also the belief in the goodness of God’s plan. So, we place our life and our worries in His hands with complete trust in the outcome.  Faith is relying on Him, not money, success, or fame. Faith is putting God in the forefront of our lives and allowing Him to lead us.

“…And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Matthew 21:22)

Faith is easy in good times. When we’re happy, and all is well, and life is going exactly as we “planned,” if not better, we’re more than happy to give thanks to God and put our trust in Him, right? But what about when things are not going our way? What about in times when you can’t even see the end of your struggle; when you cannot fathom a way out; when it seems completely impossible that any good, or any light, or any break will come your way? What about when our prayers are not being answered? What then?

Faith is so much more difficult in times of struggle. I mean, how can we easily believe in a loving God when bad things happen? How can we believe that this same God loves us when adversity consumes us? Wouldn’t He make sure that His faithful are protected from suffering? Wouldn’t He at least answer our prayers?

These are the questions that ten-year-old Benedict asks himself in The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch.  It’s very apparent that Benedict struggles with his faith.  He just doesn’t get it, because in his world of abandonment and pain, he never felt the arms of a loving God. He listens to Martha and David speak of God, and having faith that everything will be okay because God loves them, but it’s a language he doesn’t comprehend; especially when things start looking bad for everyone. Then ten-year-old Micah comes into the picture.

Now, Micah has suffered too by losing everyone that he’s loved, and yet he’s devoted to the Lord. He believes that everything works out for the good, and he understands that God always answers our prayers; and sometimes by not giving us what we ask for because His plan is so much better.

Again, Benedict cannot wrap his mind around this. He doesn’t believe it. He refuses to believe it. In one scene, he says to Micah:

“You think that it’s going to be okay because you don’t know what it’s really like. You haven’t been sent from one messed up house to another. You haven’t been hit, or spat at, or punched for taking an extra cracker at lunch. No, you’ve had grandpa who fished with you, and a mother who sang to you every night. You had it good, so no wonder you have so much faith.” (pg. 111 TDSR)

Micah is the epitome of faith. He remains devoted and thankful to God even when his world is dark. He just knows that God has a handle on his life, and he’ll happily take the good with the bad in the world, because he’s been taught that eternal joy is waiting.

 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will. (Mark 11:22-24)

Freeing Tanner Rose also introduces a character who lacks faith. Tanner Rose has been corrupted by Hollywood from a very young age, and although fourteen when she meets Gabriel, she’s lived an adult’s life. She’s lost in her world and blindly happy for it. She’s afraid of her real self and uses her fame and addictions to hide. But Gabriel introduces her to the Lord, and his faith inspires her. When things get too much for her, she seeks to know, love , and serve Him, but doesn’t know how. Gabriel’s mother tells her, “I had to learn how to believe, but faith seemed to come naturally to him.” (pg. 76-77)

Tanner puts her faith in herself and her own actions, and the stress of this leads her to her addictions. She doesn’t know how to let go. Near the end of this story, when Tanner visits Gabriel and his mother, the boy tries to explain the fundamentals of faith in his own unique style:

“Faith is not a drive-through restaurant, Tanner. You don’t say a prayer and pick it up from the window.” He heard a soft laugh and looked at his mother, who shrugged. “Well, it’s true. God knows what you need, Tanner. You have to trust that He’s taking care of it.” He goes on to say, “You know,” he added, “If you truly believe, whatever you pray for will be yours. Just don’t expect it to come packaged the way you want it to. It will come on His time and in His way. That’s where the faith comes in.” (198-199)

Times of struggle are a real test of our faith, for as we all know, we easily fall apart when things go south in our lives. The best way to get through the dark times is to remain focused on God. But in a world that thrives on immediate gratification, our patience wears thin quickly and our will is weak.

Having true faith is not going to be easy. But it’s not supposed to be. However, it does solidify our devotion to God. If we can remain strong in our faith in the midst of our darkness, our eyes always on our God, then He will be able to guide us out of the darkness. Martha in The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch and Gabriel in Freeing Tanner Rose work hard at trying to convince Benedict and Tanner of this truth. They know that without this faith, we can easily lose our way.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.   Selah (Psalm 62:8)

***

The books referenced in this post were The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch and  Freeing Tanner Rose from my Faith & Kung Fu Series. Free discussion questions are available for both:

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch
Freeing Tanner Rose Discussion Questions
Saving Faith Discussion Questions

For more Catholic fiction reflecting this theme, check out the comments below!

Join the discussion!
Call out to Catholic authors of fiction for teens and young adults. Have you written a Catholic novel that encompasses the subject of faith? Please share in the comments below, listing the titles and including a brief description of how it’s presented in your fiction.

For more on the titles listed in this post and others, as well as their educational themes, visit Catholic Teen Books For Teachers