While not an avid reader of historical fiction, The Coronation by Justin Newland surprised me with a diverse blend of history, myth, and spirituality. Beginning 1761, during Russian occupation of East Prussia, a foreign Lieutenant of the Russian army intervenes in a dispute between his superior and Countess Marion von Adler and is stabbed. The story unfolds in a tentative relationship with the Prussians living on Countess Adlerís estate, which becomes a backdrop for a spiritual journey.
Newland weaves history with myth and spirituality, drawing on quotes from the Bible and other sources, which are more than just generalized statements seen in other books. They are mile markers moving the reader through a deeper understanding of many themes.
Discussing in detail these themes gives away much story but to glean this novelís understanding, consider the idea of immersion in the butterfly effect. As an onlooker, the reader begins to see a lattice of spirituality interconnecting the elements of fiction with fact, and causes of historical situations begin to reveal. For the historical fiction enthusiast, this reading provides a compelling view of historical development.
The story, although superficially simple, will likely hold little interest to other genre fiction readers as its supernatural elements are subtle and mysterious. The Coronation is intellectually impressive, but if the reader lacks an interest in history, religion, and philosophy, they are not likely to understand and relish this read.
Newland is a fine writer: mechanically and fluently. Reading The Coronation provided much pleasure, unlike many poorly edited books today filled with stumbling blocks of pleonasms and grammar snares. The reader will easily glide through the story and spend more time considering the thematic qualities of the story than reading: as it should be. If you enjoy historical fiction and engross in thought-provoking themes, this book is for you.
Vincent V. Triola, Medium.com, April 2021