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 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 – where women work alongside men as equal partners, and where books and beliefs are treasured.
But in a continent torn apart by religious intolerance, constant danger lurks for those who don’t watch their words. And when the agents of the Spanish Inquisition kidnap de Aquila to stop him printing his book, Isabella and Willem become reluctant allies in a daring chase across Europe to rescue him from certain death.
Act of Faith is a book about books, about freedom, and about friendship. It’s an adventure story set in an era when ideas were dangerous and many books were banned: when an educated young woman was not only unusual but sometimes feared.
A novel for young adults, it traces the story of Isabella Hawkins as she travels across Europe in search of a place where writers are free to publish, women are able to work, and people are free to dream.
Act of Faith is published by HarperCollins (Australia and NZ). It’s in bookstores and available as an ebook.
Act of Faith was named by the Children’s Book Council of Australia as one of the Notable Australian Books of 2012. It was highly commended in the Australian Society of Authors’ Barbara Jefferis Awards 2012, and shortlisted for the 2012 Gold Inky Award and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.
The sequel is The Sultan’s Eyes (2013).
Cover design: Jane Waterhouse, HarperCollins
Site header photo: Kym McLeod, Stock.Xchng