The Magic of the Written Word — LeAnne Hardy ( + Giveaway )

Today I’m happy to welcome author LeAnne Hardy as she shares some history behind her story and how the magic of the written word had impacted her life.

View of the castle ruin from the fifteenth century house. The window seat is as I have imagined Colin’s mother’s room.

I just finished reading Alix Christie’s Gutenberg’s Apprentice, about the brotherhood who worked under Johann Gutenberg to develop movable type and a printing press to produce flawless copies of Scripture. They were accused of blasphemy, but they changed the world! It’s hard now to imagine a time when the skill of reading was rare and books hard to come by or even dangerous to own.

In my new novel Black Mountain, set in sixteenth century Britain and beyond, Teg is surprised when a man with a flawed body has the power to read. She uses written words as protective amulets. Her charms are in ancient Welsh, but Christians (whom Teg despises) often used Bible verses in the same way. Originally, when someone cast “a spell,” we meant it literally—spelling out the words, writing them down, gave them power. A curse might be written, the ink washed off, and the liquid fed to the enemy as poison, or a blessing used as medicine.

In Black Mountain ol’ Teg o’ the Hills is a witch who has long despised the church and its Christ. When she is forced to flee her mountain for the wider world, Teg meets the Thatcher family that owns a forbidden English Bible. In those days church leaders feared that if common people could read the Bible for themselves, they would get all sorts of ideas, threatening traditional authorities.

In the early sixteenth century William Tyndale translated the New Testament and much of the Old into English without official permission. He was driven out of England to the continent where he lived in hiding. Gutenberg’s Bible was huge, printed in Latin on large sheets of paper or vellum. Seventy-five years later Tyndale had his Bible printed on tissue-thin paper with tiny print. The small format made the Bibles easier to smuggle into England and hide. You could be arrested as a heretic for owning one, but ordinary people like my characters, the Thatchers, and their neighbors were hungry to read the Word of God for themselves in a language they understood.

In 1536 Tyndale was betrayed, arrested, convicted as a heretic, strangled at the stake and his body burned. Yet three years later King Henry VIII had an authorized version printed. Largely Tyndale’s translation, it was known as the Great Bible for its size. A law proclaimed that every church must own one.

One Bible.

For the whole church.

Before that law, people didn’t even have that.

How I take for granted my freedom to read, including my freedom to read the Bible. I have various translations at my fingertips on my device and computer, where I can sync my notes and underlinings and link quickly to various commentaries. No one looks over my shoulder to see what I read. No one threatens me because I read in the language of my heart. Historical fiction from the early days of the Reformation reminds me of the magic of the written word and all I have to be thankful for.


The margins of the Bible my father used when he was in bed with tuberculosis for three years in the 1940s are crammed with notes—a reminder of my spiritual heritage. Is there a Bible that is special to you? Tell us about it in the comments and we will include you in a drawing for a free copy of Black Mountain. (Electronic only if you live outside the US) Comment yesterday and today to double your chances.


About LeAnne

Bio: LeAnne Hardy has lived as a missionary librarian in six countries on four continents. Her inspirational fiction comes out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives. Click here to hear her speak about the significance of King Arthur in her spiritual formation and read from the first two books. Links to first chapters of all her books can be found here.


Website: LeAnne Hardy, author and editor

Blog: My Times and Places

Facebook: Birch Island Books

About historythrutheages

I write stories of His Story Through The Ages that offer tales of hope and redemption.

Posted on June 12, 2020, in Guest Author. Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. No not one special to me.

  2. Andrea Stoeckel

    As a retired minister, even though I have culled/donated about 50 Bibles out of my bookcase, there are three I always want to see up on my shelf: My Father’s that his mother gave him’ my Grandmother’s, that my mother kept on the desk in the living room, and the Bible I was given by the church I was ordained at in 1989

  3. My dad was a pastor and had many different translations as well as a huge library of commentaries, etc. So whenever I was researching something, I could just look in his library. Many of these precious things were given to one of the young pastors that trained under him. My mother’s Bible had many markings in it, but sadly, I do not know what happened to it when she passed away as we were out of the country doing camp ministry.

  4. I have a Bible that one of my sisters gave me 44 years ago, so it is very special to me. Your book sounds like a very good read. Thank you for the chance. Have a Great weekend. God Bless you and your family.

  5. Lelia “ Lucy” Reynolds

    I have my first Bible as a preteen. It’s white and used to zip but it was used so much it doesn’t work anymore.

  6. My father is a retired Bishop and I have one of his bibles.

  7. Paula Shreckhise

    I have my Mother’s Bible. She passed away at 101 years old and published her memoirs at 99. She was a missionary kid and was born in China.

    • Wow! Have you read Jean Fritz’s Homesick: My Own Story? It’s a wonderful kid’s book and a quick read. Jean was born in China as well in the 1920s and always thought she didn’t fit in because she was American–until she came to America and realized she wasn’t. Your mother was a TCK–a third culture kid–one who spent a significant part of her formative years in a culture different from her parent’s home culture. My teen novel Between Two Worlds is also about that. I’m so glad you have your mother’s memoir.

  8. The Bible by my bed is pretty special (large print), given to me by my ex-landlord. They were tearing down the house I lived in to make a Trailer Park. More bang for the bucks, you know? I had nowhere to go and no money to go on. So, I prayed about it. The next day I was going to the store and I heard this voice tell me to look across the road by the store. So, I traveled on, and sure nuf there was a sign… ‘FOR RENT’. So, I stopped and asked about the rental (way more money than I had). Come to find out she was from my home town and the house was moved there the year I was born. She worked a deal with me, week to week, that’s what I paid until I got back on my feet. She gave me that Bible. By faith I live and by the Word of of God I try to follow. She is gone on to meet the Lord now, but the word she left with me lays right beside my bed, in Large Print.

  9. Oh, Debra, you bring tears to my eyes. If I wrote contemporary fiction instead of historical, that would be a story I would really want to tell. What a precious relationship with Jesus and with the landlord!

    • Yes, she was a blessing as was her gift to me. Stay safe and healthy. Love your books. : )

  10. Shannon Raymond

    We seem to have many Bibles throughout our house right now…but the one that is so special to me is the one that I received when I was about 6 years old…from my family members that attended a tiny little church in Somerton, AZ…It is a smallish, black one with a brass zipper all the way around…and a tiny brass cross to use as a pull…It’s a King James Version put out by World Publishing Co…Beautiful color pictures throughout…What makes it such a treasure tho’, is the fact that my family loved me enough to give it to me as a small child…That is actually what started me on this wonderful journey*…

  11. It makes me smile to think of the impact of that gift to a six-year-old. Thank you for sharing Shannon.

  12. Nancy Payette

    My mom’s bible is special to me. After she passed, I kept it close by. Thanks for the chance. positive DOT ideas DOT 4you AT

  13. To my knowledge the late 16th and early 17th centuries were a hard time for many Christians. Some of my own were forced to leave England because of differing religion with the King, landed in Holland, finally arrived in Americas. Some lived quite near the Wales border, The castle is gone from the 1066 time but the bed and breakfast Moore is that side of he family. The first was Dunham and the Scottish side has the Dunham as English and Scottish. Not as talented history buff as my father but following my ancestors (Grandma Dunham Moore) printed genealogy and a trunk full of notes. Having the family also appear in a grade school reading book and her taking such a delight in finding more family history. I just liked tracking the families back and the stories that are in the church records and land records. You might find some of those could also help you. Through early settling, to fighting for independence to settling further West after the French and Indian Wars to land ownership in the Midwest before the the opening of the land of the Louisiana Purchase. In school I liked history but now as an adult tracing my families histories and stories it is fascinating. Also it is backed up by the hobby of stamp collecting. No stamps of Presidents were made while they were alive. There are covers for inaugurations and deaths however. To see our nation on envelopes drawn plus postage is really quite something. Now there are over 5500 U. S. Stamps for plenty of history of our National Parks (same with quarters), the space program from the Wright Brothers thru space hologram stamps. Poetrs, Writers, Music leaders. If you are still in Indy the 16th largest Cemetery, Crown Hill Cemetery holds several well known peoples.2 Presidents, James Whitcomb Riley among a few. My greats did travel by wagon from New York to first settlers of Michigan near Moscow.. Another great was a hanging judge in Grand Rapids Mi. died early and his wife raised 12 children by taking in laundry. Every child finished a college education. Grandma was one of the 4 sisters who became teachers.Sure I have enough for a book if not a few but I am not a writer just a curious person. Actually can trace back to the 900 but more secure with 1200 and forward lol. Anyway after your first 2 I am excited about your 3rd in the series. Best to you Carole Hoehne.

  14. You’re right, Carole. The 16th and 17th c were difficult for Christians. I’ve tried to capture that in these books. It sounds like you have had lots of fun tracking down your ancestors and their stories. That makes the history we studied in school so much more real.

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