Review copy was received from Author. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Daughter of the King by Kerry Chaput
Published by Black Rose Writing on December 16, 2021
Genres: Historical Fiction
La Rochelle France, 1661. Fierce Protestant Isabelle is desperate to escape persecution by the Catholic King. Isabelle is tortured and harassed, her people forced to convert to the religion that rules the land. She risks her life by helping her fellow Protestants, which is forbidden by the powers of France. She accepts her fate - until she meets a handsome Catholic soldier who makes her question everything.
She fights off an attack by a nobleman, and the only way to save herself is to flee to the colony of Canada as a Daughter of the King. She can have money, protection, and a new life - if she adopts the religion she's spent a lifetime fighting. She must leave her homeland and the promises of her past. In the wild land of Canada, Isabelle finds that her search for love and faith has just begun.
A few centuries ago, stating your religion had strong repercussions- it meant your life if the state religion was not your own. I have always been fascinated by this part of history involving religious war, war over the New World colonies, and life on the frontier. I was eager to take up this start of a new series, Defying the Crown, by a new to me author and follow along a young woman’s stormy adventuresome life that will take her far from everything she has ever known and push her beyond what most people could endure.
In eighteenth century France, the Protestant Huguenots were now being driven out and tortured. A fiercely courageous young woman has seen atrocities happen on a daily basis, lived with severe poverty, and seen everyone she loves die and usually horrifically. Her faith is dear to her, but she is tired of running, of being hunted. Isobelle swallows her pride and takes help from one Catholic soldier and refuge from a Catholic priest. Her bid for freedom and peaceful existence takes several twists and turns that were suspenseful and never seemed to let up. There is romance, friendship, suffering and loss, lessons learned and growth throughout for Isobelle.
The historical backdrop was researched carefully and painted in well. The atrocities done in the beginning turned my stomach and the author doesn’t hold back on the descriptions. At different times, I know both sides of this religious struggle were guilty of horrid acts, but I am always one who cheers on the underdog and, in this situation, it was Isobelle and her fellow Huguenots, as well as other lower class women, seeking a chance in the New World. The author delivered a fair history of the indigenous history with the European encroachers. She gave faces and personalities to all the peoples involved.
The author brought the sorrow, desperation, and other human emotions to vivid life, but I appreciated that she gave Isobelle a strong hope and desire to keep going even when she can’t make sense of her life. I appreciated seeing Isobelle form friendships with the other women who took the King’s offer to go to New France (Canada) as wives of the colonists. And, there, some of the colonists and soldiers became part of the story. Also, there is her enemy from childhood, a young woman of a wealthy Catholic trading family, who turns out to be a complex personality in shades of gray. There is something of a romance triangle and it turns out to be complicated and will carry over into the next book.
The ending wrapped up some plot threads and introduced a new one that will develop a further adventure for Isobelle. She has come a long way and learned so much, so I am glad there is a further story for her. Daughter of the King was fabulous and tore so many emotions from me. It was a compelling story I recommend to those who love vibrant historical fiction.
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