Summary from Christianbook.com: Dinfoil, Germany, 1538. In a little town on the edge of the Black Forest, a double murder stirs up festering fears. A lonely woman despairs of pleasing her husband and wonders why other women shun her. An overworked sheriff struggles to hold the town—and himself—together. A priest begins to doubt the power of the words he shares daily with his flock. And the charismatic Inquisitor who arrives to help—with a filthy witch in a cage as an object lesson—brings his own mix of lofty ideals and treacherous evil. Under his influence, ordinary village fears and resentments take a deadly turn. Terror mounts. Dark deeds come to light. And men and women alike discover not only what they are capable of, but who they are…and what it means to grapple for grace.
First off, I had no idea this book was part of a series until after I finished the book. It's apparently the third book in the Chronicles of the Scribe series but one does not need to read the others to understand this book. I was actually really surprised it was part of a series because normally I am a stickler for reading books in order.
The story takes place in 1500s Germany and deals with witchcraft and gender roles in the church. When the story first begins, women are seen to be very low. It's always their fault for everything bad that happens. The main female character, Mia, is constantly blamed by her husband for everything wrong that happens. No matter what she does, she can't please him. Even when she wants to make love, he refuses her and insults her. However it's not just one abusive husband that's like this. Almost all the men in the story see women as inferior. The priest in fact does as well. When the accusation of witchcraft arrives in the town, again women are constantly blamed. It even goes so far that the men truly believe that the actions that they did are the fault of women bewitching them so it's not their fault at all.
I felt it to be extremely well written with lots of historical detail. It was really frustrating to read about how women were being blamed for everything and that it was their fault that men sinned. I really wanted to kick some of the male character's butts while reading the book. It was very sad to see how the women were being treated simply because of their gender. Even though this book deals with early history Christianity, it is not preachy at all. In fact, it questions a lot of theology and false preaching. It's quite disgusting to see people going around using Christianity and God for justification for the things that they do when it's clearly evil what they are doing. The "witch" trapped in the box was one of the saddest things I have ever read about. It's totally disgusting to see how a "man of God" treating another human being that way.
Equally as fascinating is the author's notes at the end of the book that give more historical insight to all the events that happened in the story. Garrett gives more insight to the Malleus Maleficarum which really gave rise to the notion of the lowering of women in the church. She also talks about gender roles in the church both back in time and in present day. It's absolutely fascinating to read all this because not only does a lot of Christian fiction never talk about this, it's usually never talked about in the church or by Christians in general. I don't feel Garrett trying to get all feminist here but what she says is stuff that I think we really need to sit and think about. I know for certain a lot of these thoughts and questions have entered my mind and I would like answers or explanations on them. She also talks more about the view of witches in historical and modern day by Christians, another fascinating note. There are also some really good discussions questions as well. This would make a perfect book club book especially for Christian book clubs because there would be some deep discussions here about faith.
All in all, this is an excellent read. There is something for everyone in this book. It's a book that really makes you think about why you believe the things you do. I do wish that more men would read it because of all the gender issues that are raised but that's probably not going to happen. This is a story that really gets the emotions and discussion going. I do hope that the other two books in the series are just as good as this one. HIGHLY recommended.
Wolves Among Us by Ginger Garrett is published by David C. Cook (2011)
This ARC was provided by a publicist