France in the seventeenth century was comprised of Catholics and Huguenots, with Catholicism being the favored religion. Even though the Edict of Nantes had granted protection to the Huguenots, King Louis XIV and his dragoons sought to convert the Huguenots to Catholicism or suffer the consequences. Many were persecuted and when they did not convert, they were mercilessly executed. Their children were kidnapped and put into monasteries or nunneries to be educated as Catholics. It’s hard to believe what cruel atrocities people commit in the name of religion.
When Francois Clavell returns home and tells his wife dragoons are on their way and they must send their sons to a hidden cave for protection, she fears greatly for their family. After several days of the dragoons quarteded in their home, Madeleine has had enough. She tells her mother and husband she plans on prevailing upon her friendship with King Louis to protect her family. She is gambling on his youthful promise to love only her for always to spare their family from harm. What she doesn’t foresee is that King Louis is no longer willing to do anything out of just love. He makes her a proposition where her family will be spared if she agrees to his terms. Madeline, being a staunch protestant and firmly committed to her marriage vows, will not agree to any such terms. The price is way too high, a decision that has far reaching and dire consequences.
I was pulled into this story immediately by the way Parsons writes. The dialogue gives the reader a deep sense of the hearts and minds of the characters and makes the reader care about them. Putting them into this historical context just makes the story come to life. The Clavell’s devout love of God and family is one of the prevalent themes throughout this wonderfully touching story. I had a hard time putting this book down . 4****
Note: This would be a good book for clubs as there are questions at the end and many aspects for discussion. Fans of either Christian or historical fiction will appreciate and enjoy this book.
Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishing for a copy of this book.