Monday 16 September 2019

Poor Banished Children - Fiorella De Maria

Poor Banished Children
Fiorella De Maria
Ignatius Press

ISBN 9781586176327
eISBN 9781681493794

This was the fourth novel by Fiorella that I have read. And with each that I read I am more impressed by her skills as an author. After reading A Most Dangerous Innocence, I picked up all the eBooks available of works by Fiorella De Maria and set to work tracking down the three that do not have electronic editions. And this was the third novel by Fiorella that I have read. It is not an easy read. And it is set in a hard time and covers an even harder topic. But It was an incredible read, and I could barely put the book down. 

The story begins after an explosion at sea. And a woman is burnt and floating in the debris hanging on for life. She believes death has come for her again. And after reading her story we see that death passed he by closely many times. 

The story is set in the sixteenth century. The story is told as the confession and life story of a woman who had been Barbary slave trade, but that was after a rough childhood. The story follows a woman as she recounts her story, from her early family’s rejection. He virtual adoption and training by the local priest. Follow her from a wild child living in the wild and not wanted in her family home. To student and almost daughter of her priest. To wanting to take vows and live to support the anchoresses. Capture by pirates and sold as a slave. From Malta to the slave market to a pirate ship. And through it all she struggles with being courageous, seeking freedom, and always returning to God. 

From her home island of Malta to the slave market. To basically being a slave on a pirate ship. What this woman endured and lived through. Yes, it is fictional but these sorts of things happened to many many people during this time.

While reading this book I kept wondering if it was based on a true story. And though there are a few historical figures, the story is fiction. But it was written drawing upon accounts of the barbary slave trade. Pierre Dan really existed. And the priest, Father Hugh Branton could easily have been one of the Martyrs of the British Isles. And we are told in the acknowledgements that Ibrahim Reis is based on the real-life pirate Murat Reis.

As mentioned, this book was not an easy read. But it was well worth the discomfort of the events. It is in many ways a story of hope and a story of salvation. It is masterfully written. Every time I read something by De Maria I am more impressed with her skill as a wordsmith. 

This is a story that is haunting, and the images will stay with me a while. Another excellent read from Maria De Maria!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan

Books by Fiorella De Maria:
The Cassandra Curse
Father William's Daughter
Poor Banished Children
Do No Harm
We'll Never Tell Them
A Most Dangerous Innocence
I Am Margaret The Play
Father Gabriel Mysteries:
The Sleeping Witness
The Vanishing Woman

See No Evil
Death of a Scholar

Skaters Series:
The Second Skater of the Apocalypse

Robert Southwell – CTS Saints of the Isles

Books as Fiorella Nash:
The Abolition of Woman: How Radical Feminism Is Betraying Women

Author Profile and Interview with Fiorella de Maria.

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