Simonetta Carr’s latest book, “Weight of a Flame,” is a historical fiction account of the life of Olympia Morata, a young woman who lived during the Italian Reformation. Written for pre-teen and teenage girls, the biography teaches both history and doctrine in a way that will engage its intended audience.
The book itself is appealing, with a beautiful cover illustration and highly readable typesetting. Carr includes a map, cast of characters, glossary, timeline, and resources for further study. These features show the author’s careful research and overall understanding of her subject matter.
The story covers several years of Olympia’s life, from 1539 to the end of her life in 1555. The chapter headings include dates and locations, which is helpful for following Olympia’s journey. The narrative traces her life from Ferrara, Italy, to Heidelberg, Germany.
An early theme focuses on cultivating and using the gifts God has given to each individual. For Olympia, this means using her mind and language skills for God’s glory. The story also features a loving father/daughter relationship, a godly courtship and marriage, and a heroine whose faith grows strong through trials and persecution. Young girls will be encouraged by Olympia’s example, and they will perhaps consider the strength of their own faith as a result.
Overall, “Weight of a Flame” was both informative and enjoyable. This book is highly recommended.
A note to parents: Young readers could be confused by the frequent use of “Lutheran” to describe Protestants. The author defends this term by saying that it was how sixteenth century Protestants would have referred to each other. Carr also mentions that John Calvin occasionally referred to himself as a Lutheran. Because the term “Lutheran” has a more narrow meaning today, parents might want to discuss these differences.