Meet Lady Junia Flavia from Bryan Litfin’s Every Knee Shall Bow

In AD 316, the Roman empire is rapidly transforming under the rule of Constantine. Where Christians once feared for their very lives, a prominent ally now presides—but evil still prowls in dark corners of the empire.

Bishop Sylvester commissions Flavia, a senator’s daughter, to take a covert petition to Constantine to erect grand basilicas in Rome and determine the canon of scripture. But he knows this is a dangerous request. Even as paganism is dying, the church has powerful enemies and they’re on the move. 

Once separated by fate, Flavia and hardened warrior Rex are reunited for their perilous quest on behalf of the catholic church. Traveling by land and sea, the pair are thrown into mortal danger as they strive to free the Roman people from the tyranny of wicked rulers and forge a tenuous future for Christianity. 

Welcome to Novel PASTimes! We are pleased you stopped by today.

Every Knee Shall Bow

Tell us something about where you live.

The city of my birth is the capital of the world—eternal Rome. Have you ever seen it? There is no place like it on earth! Never have so many people been gathered in one place. Everything you can imagine can be found in Rome: theaters, music halls, chariot racing, bath houses, temples, and of course, the amphitheater for gladiators. Great beauty can be found in Rome—and also great evil.

At the moment, though, I am not living in Rome. I have taken up residence in a remote place: the island of Sicilia. I live with other devoted sisters in a convent. It is a simple life, a peaceful one. My mother is with me. I have much time for contemplation. Everything about my life is happy, except that I long for . . . well, let us not speak of what is not yet.

Is there anything special about your name? Why do you think you were given that name?

Mine is an ancient family name, going back to the founding of Rome. Like every girl of noble birth, I am named for my father. He is Senator Neratius Junius Flavianus, so I am Lady Junia Flavia. But no longer am I called “lady.” Now I am just a humble sister like all the others. My former world of wealth and politics is in the past. Everyone just calls me Flavia.

Do you have an occupation, Flavia? What do you like or dislike about your work?

My days consist of simple chores. We tend a garden. We sweep the floors. We prepare meals of bread and vegetables. We gather for prayers and readings from the holy books that some are starting to call “the bible.” Though I am happy, I also have the sense that God is about to do something more in my life.

Who are the special people in your life?

My mother dwells with me in the convent, Lady Sabina Sophronia. And my best friend among the sisters is Cassiopeia, from Aethiopia. Cassi does not yet speak Latin with fluency, so I am teaching her that tongue. And she teaches me about her home in Africa, where the Nilus River has its beginnings.

Is there anyone else who is special to you?

Not at this time. My father is a scoundrel, and he is gone from us. There is no one else.

Are you sure?

Well, perhaps there is another. I had a . . . a good friend once. His given name is Brandulf, for he was born of the Germani. But within the borders of our empire, everyone calls him Rex. We were very close friends, and we shared many dangers and adventures together. Now, though, he is in exile far away with the Roman navy.

What is your heart’s deepest desire?

I will admit that I long to see Rex once more. His presence in my life gave me strength. Often, I scan the eastern sea, hoping to spy the sail that will bring him to me again. And yet, in truth, to be reunited with Rex is not my deepest desire. Even deeper is my desire to be faithful. And this means accepting the will of the Lord, even when it is hard.

Do you have a cherished possession?

The sisters share all property in common. Yet here in my room, I keep this little book and read from it often. Do you see its title? Ah, perhaps you do not read Greek. It says, in our Latin tongue, The Letters of Paul. These are some of the sacred passages that belong within the canon.  

What do you expect the future will hold for you?

I am a young woman, just twenty-two. It may be that I shall live out my life here in Sicilia. Or perhaps the Lord has more adventures for me. Who can know the future? 

What have you learned about yourself in the course of your story?

When I was a girl, wealth and privilege were part of my life. I thought I was in control. Now I am like a twig on a stream, carried where the currents take me. It is a humbling place to be. Yet I know that my God is good. I will await what he has in store for me. Look here at what it says in my book, in the Letter to the Philippians. “At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow.” I am trying to learn to do this day by day.

Thanks for allowing us to get know you a little better!

About the Author

Bryan Litfin is the author of The ConquerorEvery Knee Shall Bow, and the Chiveis Trilogy, as well as several works of nonfiction, including Early Christian Martyr StoriesAfter Acts, and Getting to Know the Church Fathers. A former professor of theology at the Moody Bible Institute, Litfin earned his PhD in religious studies from the University of Virginia and his ThM in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Bryan is head of strategy and advancement at Clapham School, a classical Christian school in Wheaton, Illinois. He and his wife have two adult children and live in Wheaton, Illinois. Learn more at

Meet Annalee Spain from Patricia Raybon’s All That is Secret 

Tell us about yourself, Annalee Spain. Who are you? How would you describe yourself?

Thank you for asking—because that’s my biggest mystery. I was raised alone by my dad, and Joe Spain was a little rough around the edges. The neighbor ladies taught me “girl things” and how to be a “nice young lady.” But who am I? How do I answer that question? I’m on a journey to figure that out.

But you’ve accomplished a lot. You’re “the Colored Professor.” Doesn’t that say “you’ve made it” in the world?

I suppose it should. But the world doesn’t look kindly on folks like me. So I find myself asking God, Why not? His answer is to trust in Him—and that He loves me. For all of us, that’s a pretty good place to start.

What do you want most in life?

To make the world better—for everybody. Sounds crazy. But I want people to see each other with God’s eyes, reflecting on the real person who’s on the inside. Yesterday someone yelled a bad name at me from his Model T automobile. The word stung. Still, I wondered, who is that person—on the inside? Why is he trying to hurt me? As long as I’m asking that question, for me, I haven’t lost hope.

Are you a detective?

I’m learning how to be. I’m not Sherlock Holmes, even though I read and love all his adventures. Instead, I’m a daughter who misses her murdered daddy. The Bible says, “You shall not murder.” But Jesus says if you’re even angry with someone, to reconcile with that person.

So I’m trying to solve a murder but not hate the person who did it. To look for clues but not think the worst of suspects. Am I a detective? God knows I’m trying to be. But at the same time, I’m searching for my real self, too, and to feel okay with what I find. I suspect we all are.

What’s your most treasured possession?

My friends. They’re gold. They’re like gifts that I didn’t earn and don’t deserve. My landlady, Mrs. Stallworth, tests me at every turn and argues with me—even about how much milk to put in the corn bread. But she would lie down and die for me. So would young Eddie—a ragamuffin of a street kid, an orphan who also is white but could be my little brother or even my son. He would move mountains for me.

What have your friends taught you?

To look for the unexpected. Sometimes life sends us people or friends who don’t look as if they belong in our lives. But as I’ve learned, don’t be so quick to turn them away. They could be the gold you’ve been digging for and trying to find.

Have you ever been in love?

Do you know something that I don’t? In fact, I have met a young man and to know him feels like being in love. But I’m learning what that means, too. Can I leave it at that?

In the world, where would you most like to live?

Some place where the sun shines every day. But that’s where I live now. In Colorado, we get sunshine perpetually. Even when it snows, by the next morning—or sometimes the afternoon on the same day—the sun bursts through and the sky is a blinding blue.

Have you ever been to a place where it’s ice-cold, but your body and face are so warm in the sun that you’re pulling off your coat? That’s Colorado on a beautiful winter day. I love it here.

What’s your greatest fear?

Disappointing God. He has given me so much—an education, loving friends, important work, even the prospect of romance. But do I measure up? Do any of us? As a theologian, I know God doesn’t judge us in that way. He sees our hearts—and He loves us anyway. Still, I desire to live up to my potential in Him. Or maybe that’s not a fear but my greatest hope.

What’s your favorite thing to wear?

I don’t have many clothes—and the stores don’t let colored people try on clothes, even if I had enough money (and I don’t). I know women who are seamstresses, but I can’t pay them either. So perhaps my favorite thing to wear is my late daddy’s Stetson hat. It’s a bit worn and too big. But when I put it on, I recall his love and presence. That makes it a pretty good favorite, right?

What’s one fanciful thing you’d love to do?

To ride a bicycle! I love watching people riding them. I want to balance on two wheels and ride with confidence and joy. While wearing a new dress! Does God answer prayers like that? I actually believe He does.

Thank you for interviewing me!

Patricia Raybon is an award-winning author and essayist whose books include My First White Friend, a Christopher Award–winning memoir about racial forgiveness, and I Told the Mountain to Move, a prayer memoir that was a Christianity Today Book of the Year finalist. Patricia’s other books include The One Year God’s Great Blessings Devotional and Undivided: A Muslim Daughter, Her Christian Mother, Their Path to Peace, coauthored with her younger daughter, Alana Raybon. Patricia’s essays on faith, race, and grace have been published in the New York TimesNewsweekUSA TodayGuidepostsChristianity Today, andother national publications and blogs. She lives with her husband, Dan, in her beloved home state of Colorado. Her latest book, All That Is Secret, releases from Tyndale in October.

author Patricia Raybon

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A Chat With Coraline Baxter from Regina Scott’s A View Most Glorious

Welcome to Novel PASTimes, Coraline Baxter! We are pleased you stopped by today.

A View Most Glorious by Regina Scott

Cora: I’m delighted to be here.R Thank you for the invitation.

Of course. It’s not often we have a guest who plans to climb a mountain. What gave you the idea to summit Mt. Rainier?

Cora: I’m a member of the Tacoma Women’s Suffrage Association. We hope to restore the vote for women. Washington State’s had it twice now, but the courts keep overturning the laws. We intend to prove that a woman can climb a mountain. And if women can climb mountains, why shouldn’t they vote?

Do you have any experience climbing?

Cora: Regrettably, no. I’ve been attending college and becoming one of the first women accountants in Tacoma, the City of Destiny, as we like to call it. And with the Panic of 1893, the bank where I work has been very busy trying to help those who lost everything. But I’ve hired a guide, Mr. Nathan Hardee, who comes highly recommended, for all he seems a bit unreasonable.

Unreasonable how?

Cora: He says to reach the summit I must have stamina, determination, and a willingness to obey his direction, without question. I told him he’ll learn I have plenty of stamina and determination, but I’ve never been good at obeying. He’ll simply have to accustom himself to the fact.

And you feel comfortable this fellow can get you safely to the top and back, through the wilderness?

Cora: I do. I can’t really explain it. There’s something about him. He’s tall as a fir, with eyes as green. He carries himself with a confidence few men manage. And there’s a stillness about him, as if he’s discovered his own worth and is satisfied with that. My stepfather told me Nathan was once a member of high society, like me, but I find that hard to credit. Why would he leave wealth and prestige behind to live in a cabin in the woods?

Well, if you don’t reach the top, you’ll still have position and family to return to.

Cora: That’s the problem. I won’t. My mother and I have never seen eye to eye, but she’s put her foot down this time. If I don’t reach the summit, I must return home and marry the man she’s picked out for me. She finds local industrialist Cash Kincaid perfect, but I know the truth. He’s cunning and cruel, and he’s made it clear he will stop at nothing to make me his bride. So I will reach the summit, whatever it costs.

I can see what you mean about determination. We wish you the best of luck. Thanks for allowing us to get know you a little better!

Regina Scott

Regina Scott is the author of more than 50 works of warm, witty historical romance,
including A Distance Too Grand and Nothing Short of Wondrous. Her writing has
won praise from Booklist and Library Journal, and she was twice awarded the
prestigious RT Book Reviews best book of the year in her category. A devotee of
history, she has learned to fence, driven four-in-hand, and sailed on a tall ship, all in
the name of research. She and her husband of 30 years live south of Tacoma,
Washington, on the way to Mt. Rainier. Learn more at