Over to you, Ginger:~
Mia, the sheriff’s wife: think of Grace Kelly in medieval robes: fair skin, blonde hair. She sees herself as rather ordinary, and is shocked when a stranger in town finds her attractive. She’s too thin but whatever food she has always goes to her child, husband and mother-in-law.
Father Stefan, the priest: Short, with broad plain features. A man in the middle years of his life, he sees himself as rather charmless in every way, and feels he has to work harder to capture the people’s attention when preaching.
Mia: Grace Kelly
Father Stefan: Martin Sheen
Strengths and weaknesses
Mia: selflessly devoted to her ailing child and her invalid mother-in-law. She would do anything to save her child. But when a mysterious stranger offers her the one escape she never considered, will she choose to save her child or her faith?
Her weakness is her own certain belief that she is a doomed sinner, despite the message of grace.
Father Stefan: He is devoted to his people and to God, but has never read the Bible. He relies entirely on what others have taught him about it, which is not unusual in this age, but he wrestles with the guilt that he should try to read it for himself. He is willing to do anything for what is right, but when his best intentions unleash evil, who can he turn to for help?
Quirk (if any)
Mia lost a toe to frostbite and hides it from her husband. She is always embarrassed by her growling stomach, too, because she hears of godly women who fast for days without hunger. She wishes above all else to please God and her husband.
Father Stefan makes all the beer for his community; the water isn’t safe to drink and he doesn’t own a vineyard to make wine. That’s historically accurate. In fact, his character is based on a real priest in history. His greatest quirk is also based on this man: he shows great mercy to a condemned witch, and experiences nothing short of a miracle.
The villagers have a funny quirk, too, based on a true story: terrified of witchcraft, they baptize by immersion anyone or anything who needs saving—including a poor cat caught at the wrong place and wrong time!
Your inspiration for the characters
All the characters, events and even much of the dialogue is based on real people and actual events. For every printed word in the book, one woman or girl died at the hands of “Christians” who accused her of being a witch. How can we understand what went wrong, and how can we stop it from ever happening again? The solution is so much nearer than we realize.
Background to the story
Mia was a young runaway arrested by the town sheriff, who falls in love with her and marries her. They have one child, a beautiful daughter who is dying of respiratory disease. Many Christians at this time believe sickness is a judgment from God, and Mia is keeping a secret about her childhood, so she believes her daughter will die for the sins from Mia’s past.
Father Stefan is the village priest, who loves his people but doesn’t know how to lead them. When a double murder shocks his congregation, he wants to call in higher Church authorities but is warned against it. He calls for an Inquisitor anyway, and brings hysteria and evil into his once-peaceful village. Stefan and Mia will learn that not everything is what is seems and not every “good Christian” can be trusted.
Based on real events from the 1500’s, the novel explores the Church’s role in the crazy witch hunts of the Middle Ages, and what happens when good people don’t know the Scriptures.
Thanks so much, Ginger
Relz Reviewz Extras
Review of In the Shadow of Lions