Title: Whom Shall I Fear?
Author: Kendra Burkholder
Major Themes: Anabaptists, Netherlands, Persecution, Reformation
Synopsis: Claudine’s greatest fears have come to pass; will she remain faithful to God?
I rarely read a book aloud that is as hard as Whom Shall I Fear? It’s not that it’s difficult to read, but emotionally hard. When we were studying the Reformation a year or more ago, I added this book to the stack of supplementary books, but we never got to it until my 8-year-old chose it recently. I had read it many years ago, but was somewhat unprepared for reading some of the chapters aloud.
Claudine is a happy wife and mother in a small Dutch town in 1565. Her husband is a leader in the little Anabaptist group, so when persecution comes, the little family must flee for their lives. They find a new home in a different town—but persecution follows them there after a short time. When the authorities come again for Piersom, her husband, they flee to the woods again, but this time Claudine, holding her new baby, is captured and taken to prison.
For many months, Claudine sits in a dungeon with her baby and a number of other men and women who are also imprisoned for their faith. Will she be able to remain faithful to God? How can she endure the torture and loneliness? And how will Pierson manage without her? There are a number of chapters that had me crying as I read them.
Kendra Burkholder has taken an account recorded in The Martyrs Mirror and made it into a very readable story. This is a very good book to read to encourage faith in God and to strengthen your resolve to remain faithful and not deny God to escape torture. It’s not a comfortable book, but it is definitely faith-building.
WARNING: Chapters 19 and 21 talk about the torture that Claudine endured.
Listening Level—Ages 10 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above