Book Review ~ Not Regina

Not ReginaNot Regina by Christmas Carol Kauffman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Regina Strahm is an innocent nineteen-year-old girl in tumultuous times. The teaching of the Anabaptists is seeping in throughout Switzerland, but the state church is firm in it's attempts to suppress it's spread. Regina doesn't know what to think, and she is kept miserable by seeing Anabaptist prisoners being marched away, by the increasing silence and confusion of her father, and the weekly struggle the pastor has with choosing a passage to read to the church. As time goes on her heart begins to yearn for the peace and assurance that the Anabaptists seem to have. It is after she witnesses the public execution of Felix Manz that she truly desires this new way of life for herself. Events then move quickly when she becomes re-baptized (her first baptism having been as an infant), is accused of associating with the Anabaptists, and is subsequently placed under arrest. Sweet Regina remains firm in her new-found faith, despite the many friends who beg her to remain true to the state church.

"Won't you please swear and tell the board of trustees today you'll forget it all and come back to us and start over?"
"Catri," answer Regina, "I could never do that. I would be giving up my joy, my everlasting life. I would sooner spend the rest of my life in prison that do that. If you could only understand how happy I am" (pg. 189)

Not Regina started out slowly, as the writing is far from spectacular and the complete innocence of Regina was somewhat hard to believe. Her speech and manner seemed to be that of a much younger girl. Later on, however, I became more drawn into the story it didn't bother me as much.

It was easy to sympathize with her confusion though. I am not a strong thinker myself, and I could easily place myself in that situation and understand that I would have been no more decided than she started out, probably less so. Fear kept her silent for so long, and that too is understandable from a human perspective, but she finally took the step of faith and proclaimed her new allegiance even if it meant imprisonment or death. The peace that she had so long searched for finally came.

It is not a brilliant book, yet it is interesting look at what it meant in the 1500's to truly follow Christ, and the turmoil that came of it.

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