Against the background of the Protestant Reformation and conflicts between England and Spain, this novel relates the rise of the House of Orange and the beginnings of Dutch nationalism. The factual history of the conflict is long and complex, but Holland tells an insightful, if small, slice of a much bigger picture, through the stories of one Dutch family. Holland brings the reader into the action, fighting alongside Jan & Hanneke against Alva and the Spaniards who seek to crush their revolution.
This book really draws you in. I had never really heard of the revolt of the Netherlands before encountering it, so even though it's a novel I feel like I learned a lot.
I do feel the need to add a "trigger warning" because there is a rather vivid--though I wouldn't say graphic--description of rape, including the rapist's rationalizations and the aftermath. (There is also a great deal of violence and death, but that is to be expected given the subject matter.)