The Mark of the King (Bethany House, January 2017)
Sweeping historical fiction set at the edge of the continent
After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.
When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne’s brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?
With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king’s mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.
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Wow, I really enjoyed this book! Not enjoy in an easy-going summer flippant read at the beach sort of thing, but a truly great piece of writing – that grabs your soul and mind and heart and doesn’t let go! Easy summer reading may have its place (it’s not my first preference, though). This had a bit of everything, from moments of heartbreak, shear terror, moments of joy, of excitement. One minute I was rooting for a character because I believed redemption could occur, and the next minute I wasn’t sure just what to hope for. I would cry for how people were treated, then cry some more because of loss or even the illusion of things lost. To be able to send a reader on such an emotionally turbulent ride – to me – is a sign of a great writer. As you’ve probably gathered from my past book reviews, I love history, and historical fiction when mixed with a powerful Christian message is probably my favorite literary genre/subcategory. I really didn’t remember much from my school days about the early colonization of Louisiana in the 1700s (if I learned much about it, I had forgotten), and so the historical element was so intriguing to me, as well as their interactions with the Indians.
No, this is not a book to read as easy fill-in-some-time kind of read, but it will draw you in and not let go. It will cause you to have all kinds of emotions. It will cause you to stay up late to finish reading it. If that’s your idea of a good read, then I highly recommend you get busy reading! 🙂
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