Rachelle Rea makes her debut with a medieval young adult novel about a Catholic maiden and a Protestant rogue in the midst of 16th century Protestant-Catholic conflict.
In The Sound of Diamonds, eighteen year old Gwyneth has hidden in a Dutch convent after the murder of her parents in England. Suddenly one night, Dirk — the man she accused of their murder — breaks into her convent to abduct her. In truth, he is trying to rescue her from the imminent attacks on the Catholics in the area. Can this Catholic girl trust this Protestant rogue, even when he says he has reformed? Can she afford not to?
He appears the lesser of two evils. He promises to return her to her uncle’s castle in England, but will he? Dirk is determined to redeem his dishonorable reputation by getting her home safely, but trouble lies in wait for them. Home is not what she thought it would be. As they travel, she comes to believe that he did not murder her parents – but if he didn’t, then who did? What awaits her return to her uncle’s castle? Who betrayed her family?
Rea has a knack for creating a storyline that is as unique as the main characters she pens. How many heroines need glasses, especially in historical fiction? Her book is carefully researched and grabs the reader’s attention from the first page. Written in alternating first-person point-of-view, the reader feels right in the middle of the action. Gwyneth and Dirk develop a relationship as they depend on one another in trying circumstances.
Faith elements are interwoven and integral to the plot. Rea carefully balances the Catholic and Protestant faith without being overly critical of either. She creates flawed individuals in a troubled time in church history.
Recommended for teen collections in school and public libraries. Fans of Melanie Dickerson, Lisa Bergren, and Jody Hedlund (authors of young adult medieval fiction) will enjoy this new author’s works.
Carol R. Gehringer