Act of Faith
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Act of Faith (Act of Faith #1)

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  157 ratings  ·  30 reviews
England,1640. Sixteen-year-old Isabella is forced to flee her home when her father’s radical ideas lead him into a suicidal stand against Oliver Cromwell’s army.Taking refuge in Amsterdam and desperate to find a means to survive, Isabella finds work with an elderly printer, Master de Aquila,and his enigmatic young assistant, Willem.

When Master de Aquila travels to Venice t...more
Paperback, 227 pages
Published July 2011 by Harper Collins Australia
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The Outcasts by John FlanaganAct of Faith by Kelly GardinerThe Coming of the Whirlpool by Andrew McGahanQueen of the Night by Leanne HallShift by Em Bailey
Gold Inkys Longlist 2012
2nd out of 10 books — 12 voters
Just a Girl by Jane CaroThe Dead I Know by Scot GardnerThe Extinction Gambit by Michael PryorShift by Em BaileyIshmael and the Hoops of Steel by Michael Gerard Bauer
CBCA Notables 2012 - Older Readers
11th out of 22 books — 3 voters

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Sita Sargeant
Oct 15, 2011 Sita Sargeant rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People into Historical Fiction
Shelves: young-adult, reviewed

I don’t actually read Historical fiction that often and even though I like the genre I just don’t like many of the books that come out of it. I’m still trying to figure out if I liked this book or not. I read the book in one sitting, but by the end I didn’t feel that satisfied. Everything happened so fast, the problem was fixed and forgotten so quickly.


I think that describes how I felt after completing the book... Not the pants thing though...

Because everything happened so quickly I felt tha...more
The year is 1640 and Europe is on the brink of religious upheaval. Catholics in England are being executed, while other countries are burning ‘heretics’ at the stake unless they take up the Catholic faith. The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition in Spain (aka ‘The Spanish Inquisition’) ride to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms – beating and imprisoning those who go against the church and God.

It is the worst time to be an intellectual. And Heaven forbid a man of intellect...more
I was working for my mum yesterday in her physiotherapy practice, and about the middle of the day there was little going on, so she gave me $20 to go buy a book. There were many MANY books I wanted to buy, however the fact I only had $20 limited me. I eventually came across this book, drawn to it because of the cover and the fact it was historic fiction (LOVE!!), and was delighted to discover it was $19.99. The book was really sweet and easy to read, I finished it in a few hours. (Sorry mum, I t...more
I am a sucker for a really good adventure (I wanted to join the Merrymen when I grew up) and this book delivers! In fact it was a lot more adventurous that I thought it would be given the title. The main character, Isabella, is smart and gutsy, and applies both abilities without too much deliberation. The pace is good then downright gripping as you get to the end.

I loved reading about the sources for the details and the time period in the afterward. The author describes the cities,the people an...more
I really enjoyed delving into that revolutionary period of history in the late 1600's when books were seen as powerful and dangerous. It's interesting to examine some of the ideas that surfaced in literature at that time of religious conflict and to consider them in light of current events. Writings on liberty and religious tolerance seem as relevant as ever 400 years on. However despite these intellectual themes running through the story, it is by no means a 'hard' read. It is an emotive story...more
Oh man, this is such an amazing book. It deals with the Spanish Inquisition, and how books and opposing views could get one killed. Very thought provoking.
I totally recommend this to everyone who loves books and is open minded.
Pam Saunders
Just lovely especially if you are a lover of books as objects.
I have been meaning to read this book for so long and I am glad that I finally did. What an adventure it was! Isabella was a great character and I would want to be just like her if I lived in this era. Banning and burning of books is a subject that makes my blood boil and I was carried away, all across England, Amsterdam, Venice and Spain, in the journey to save the books and to save the people who bring us the books. Kelly Gardiner has obviously done her research as it shows throughout the stor...more
This is a tentative 4 stars - it would have been 3 stars if the themes weren't so interesting.

I enjoyed the theme of this book, having just read Royal Escape by Georgette Heyer. (See the end of the review for more of what I liked about the themes.) I enjoyed the dialogue and and witty lines. I quite liked the characters. I thought it explained a lot but that there were no info-dumps - at least, no long and onerous ones.


This book was missing the elusive "something" that makes a book a gr...more
I really enjoyed this, I guess I just thought there might me a more conclusive and firm ending. Firm isn't the word I was searching for, but it will have to do. I felt like I was reaching for something, and my fingers touched it, but it slipped away. However, I still really liked this book. I liked the characters, and I loved the ideas and history. I can't imagine preserving books to that degree; although sometimes I buy books just because I hat the thought of second hand shops throwing them awa...more
Hazel Edwards
just finished Act of Faith and I'm so
Impressed with the richness of the writing,interwoven history and the feisty Isobella. The rhythm of the writing is also noticeable. Will highly recommend The book was a tribute to learning, set in a credible historical context . Really enjoyed it.
Elizabeth Lhuede
A fascinating YA novel set in Enlightenment Europe about a girl who grows up loving books and defending the political freedom of people producing them. Won a "Highly Commended" in the 2012 Barbara Jefferis Award.
Just A. Bean
In structure it's such a familiar Girl's Own Adventure YA story that I actually started feeling horribly nostalgic about thirty pages in. This is the kind of story I ate like ice cream when I was a teenager. This is not a book with many, if any, surprises.

But it did what it set out to do well. If you want a book about a plucky, polyglot orphan who travels around a beautifully-rendered seventeenth-century Europe making friends and having adventures (and if by describing this you could mentally pi...more
On the one hand I liked this book. Kelly Gardiner did a competent job of portraying some of the religious terror that tore apart Europe at the time of the Inquisition, the Protestant Reformation and the Parliament of Cromwell. On the other hand, the book just felt a little lacking. I would have loved for more depth and detail in these historical events. However, I am aware that this book is primarily aimed at young adult readers, it just felt like it never quite reached its potential.

It was hard...more
What a wonderful, wonderful book. I loved everything about it, the story, the history, the characters, the writing.
If you love books, reading and history then you will love this book.
My only negative comment is that it was to short. But luckily I discovered there is a second book ' The Sultan's Eyes' which continues the story. I am going to start reading this book straight away before I get pulled too far away from Isabella and her world.
Do yourself a favour and read 'Act of faith' it is such...more
YA Reads Book Reviews
“England,1640. Sixteen-year-old Isabella is forced to flee her home when her father’s radical ideas lead him into a suicidal stand against Oliver Cromwell’s army.Taking refuge in Amsterdam and desperate to find a means to survive, Isabella finds work with an elderly printer, Master de Aquila,and his enigmatic young assistant, Willem.
When Master de Aquila travels to Venice to find a publisher brave enough to print his daring new book, Isabella accompanies him and discovers a world of possibility...more
Kate Forsyth
Act of Faith is an intoxicating mixture of history, adventure, romance and philosophy. It is, I think, one of the cleverest books to be published for young adults in the past few years, yet it wears its scholarship lightly. The novel is set in 1640. England is in the midst of the English Civil War, a time of extraordinary political and religious upheaval. The heroine of the tale is Isabella Hawkins, daughter of an Oxford don and philosopher. She has been taught by her father to read Greek and La...more
Chloe Ward
Very interesting themes and details that encourage independent research and study. However the book itself is rather simple and feels rushed, it hurrys through it's plot.
This novel was a joy to read, the characters are honest and witty, the language is cultured and the worlds created are those of legends. Gardiner has created a work that inspires and allows culture and the power of reading and writing to be shown through the simple yet potentially dangerous act of printing.

A powerful and moving story, this is definitely a novel for any YA reader, even for older children, a creative and moving novel, almost written in prose, demands to be read, and demands to be...more
Lemony Ellow
This novel is richly detailed in terms of history and provides an insightful and fascinating read about the times and life of a young girl thousands of years ago. Though the characters are from different time periods, they were relatable whilst remaining distinct and likable and the overall plot line was adventurous. I really enjoyed this novel, and would recommend it to fans of history and adventure!
It was really good, the author clearly did heaps of research which really helps the storyline, considering so much of it is based on what happened in history. I was really proud of myself when I finally figured out why the title was "Act of Faith" which was because of the trial the Spanish Inquisition named the auto de fe, which means act of faith. I loved the ending, it was really satisfying.
I was deeply immersed in this read, as I could very well place myself in the picture. Having travelled through similar towns and cities as Isabella! No matter the fictitious entries these publishers are legendary.
What amazing brave individuals, to forsee the imestimable value of their knowledge & craft.
What dark times these must have been. I loved every step of the way!
4.5 maybe? Really loved this. Haven't read anything like it, not in this setting anyhow. It was very 'atmospheric', so easy to get lost into, and I love the relationship between Isabella, Willem, and Master de Aquila (though wouldn't that be Master d'Aquila?). So many quotable moments, I must got back and write them up some day... ^_^
ACT OF FAITH is highly recommended from me if you love adventure and a superb historical novel! And the author is Australian, which makes this book even more supersweet!

Full review: http://talesoftheinnerbookfanatic.blo...
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
very nice, but I was expecting will and Bella to fall in love, especially after all they've been through
Emma Louise
It showed feminism in the 1600's and showed the courage that a young (educated) girl can have.
The ending was good :) Not my favourite, but an interesting read.
Didn't like this too much,
A great read. Loved it.
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Thanks 6 8 Dec 22, 2012 06:25PM  
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Kelly Gardiner's latest book is 'Goddess', a novel based on the life of the remarkable Julie d'Aubigny, also known as Mademoiselle de Maupin - a 17th century opera singer and swordswoman. Her previous books include the young adult novels 'The Sultan's Eyes' and 'Act of Faith' (HarperCollins); and for younger readers, 'Billabong Bill's Bushfire Christmas' (Random House) and the ‘Swashbuckler!’ tril...more
More about Kelly Gardiner...
The Sultan's Eyes Ocean Without End (Swashbuckler Trilogy, #1) Goddess Pirate's Revenge (Swashbuckler Trilogy, #2) The Silver Swan (Swashbuckler Trilogy, #3)

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“Dear Reader,
This book you hold is a treasure, of sorts, as is every book I have ever known.
I have made it for you – especially you – for reasons you will understand as my words unfurl before your eyes.
Turn these pages tenderly.
You hold my life in your hands.”
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