Anne of the Fens by Gretchen Gibbs is a historical young adult novel about a fifteen year old girl whose budding curiosity crosses paths with a young man her father is hiding from authorities (available April 30, 2015).
Anne Dudley is a fifteen year old who has very little experience when it comes to trouble – that’s more her sister Sarah’s issue. Raised as a Puritan, Anne knows it is wicked to lie, cheat, steal, and lust after men. Still, she is caught in a world that is anything but Godly and pure. Her religion prohibits the reading of certain books, like William Shakespeare. And, on the other side of things, King Charles I is demanding taxes and limiting her family’s freedom because of their religion.
When Anne discovers her father is hiding a Puritan fugitive from the King’s justice, she finds herself learning how to lie. She sneaks the man, John Holland, food. During their midnight meetings, she discovers that perhaps she feels more than just duty towards him. However, as she gets to know John and becomes better at telling lies, she starts to wonder if she isn’t being lied to.
Anne of the Fens is based on the historical life of a girl who would grow up to become America’s premiere female poet Anne Bradstreet, who is an ancestor of author Gretchen Gibbs – and the passion for her predecessor in life and letters is clear in Gibbs’ novel. It’s a story set against the dark, threatening landscape of pre-English Civil War, when men and women were hanged or burned alive for their religious beliefs.