I want to thank Christian Focus Publications for providing a copy of At the Mercy of Kings for me to review. As always, my opinions are my own. 🙂
Last year, the boys and I studied the Reformation. In the midst of all the wars, debates, and – oh yes – wars, wars and more wars, stood a man called William of Orange. We did a lot of reading about William (as well as reading about Mary’s grandfather, uncle, and father), but I never gave much thought to his wife, Mary Stuart II.
That is, not until this week.
I love biographies that broaden and enrich our understanding of history, particularly Christian history. I especially enjoy reading middle grade biographies that are engaging and give children an opportunity to envision themselves in a particular time in the past.
With At the Mercy of Kings: Mary of Orange, Linda Finlayson has given children the chance to join Princess Mary as she grows up, is given in marriage to a man she does not know, and steps into the duties of the wife of the stadtholder of the Netherlands. Later, children experience Mary’s angst as her husband overthrows her father’s kingdom and she becomes Queen of England, Ireland and Scotland alongside her husband who becomes King. Mary co-rules while William spends his time both in the Netherlands, and in England.
We see Mary’s thought process as she chooses the Reformed faith over the Roman Catholic Church. This religious battle is at the core of the storyline between kings, and it naturally plays a large role in Mary’s life. The book is written from a Reformed, rather than from a Catholic, perspective.
Linda Finlayson has a fantastic voice, and she’s chosen to write Mary’s story in an entirely narrative manner. At the Mercy of Kings is written in the same way a middle grade novel would be, with dialogue, and emotions and thoughts from the main character. This allows children to feel as though they’re living the story along with Mary.
I really enjoy Ms. Finlayson’s work. I reviewed her book Guarding the Treasure: How God’s People Preserve God’s Word (Biography) a few weeks ago in my post A Journey Through Time with God’s Word.
At the Mercy of Kings is part of the Trailblazers series from Christian Focus Publications, recommended for ages 7-14. Our family loves these narrative biographies, as they allow us to delve into Christian history, and to live with the characters for a short while. As we study history further, our knowledge of key figures in Christian history provide a hook, if you will, on which to hang additional knowledge. We recognize and understand periods of time better because we’ve studied the people within those stretches of history.
At the Mercy of Kings: Mary of Orange and the other biographies in the Trailblazers biography series for 8-12 year olds at
Other Christian Focus Trail Blazer & Torchbearer books reviewed on Thinking Kids:
- Brother Andrew: Behind Enemy Lines
- Fanny Crosby: The Blind Girl’s Song
- Nate Saint: Operation Auca
- Michael Faraday: Spiritual Dynamo
- Eric Liddell: Finish the Race
- John Stott: The Humble Leader
- Titanic The Ship of Dreams: John Harper
- John Knox: The Sharpened Sword
More Books for 8-12 Year Olds Reviewed at Thinking Kids
- History Lives Christian History Series by Brandon & Mindy Withrow
- Guarding the Treasure: How God’s People Preserve God’s Word by Linda Finlayson
- Tough Questions About the Bible by Joel R. Beeke
- The New Astronomy Book by Danny R. Faulkner
- God’s Special Tent: The Story of the Tabernacle and What Came After by Jean Stapleton
Thinking Kids Book Review Indexes
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- Christian Books for Preschoolers
- Christian Books for 4-7 Year Olds
- Christian Books for the Middle Grades
- Christian Books for Middle School
- Christian Books for High School
- Christian Books for Kids’ Devotions
- Christian Books about Parenting
~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.