Thursday, September 03, 2009
About the book:
Madeleine's shared history with the king holds the key to her family's life...or death.
Seventeenth century France is an unsafe time to be a Huguenot. By order of King Louis XIV, all French Protestants must immediately convert or face imprisonment--or death. The king's dragoons ferret out the nonconformists, pillaging villages and destroying homesteads.
When the king's soldiers descend on the Clavell estate, the family's fate hangs in the balance. Quickly, quietly, they send their two sons into hiding, trusting that the young age of their daughter will guarantee her protection. But the dragoons will not be dissuaded; they hold the manor hostage looking for clues of their guilt or innocence. However, Madeleine Clavell, the lady of the manor, holds a secret--one possible chance to save the family. She and the king share a past.
Once a beautiful young lady in the French court whom Louis loved, Madeleine travels to Versailles to plead for mercy from the fickle king, hoping to regain his favor and save her family. It's a gamble, but she is left with no other choice. Madeleine soon faces an agonizing decision--one that changes her family forever.
This was a great debut novel and one that I would definitely recommend. I enjoy reading about this time period and the author did a great job putting me there. The only reason I didn't give it five stars was the fact that I could put down. However, I also kept wanting to pick it back up, which makes it an excellent read because I am surrounded by books that need to be reviewed.
I found the conflict in this story to be believable and engaging. My heart went out to the family and all that they had lost. The intrigue and peril combined with the desperate attempt to reunite the family while remaining true to their faith was also inspiring. The same goes for the characters resisting the temptation to deny their faith to protect their loved ones. That was very well done.
The best part of this story for me was probably the romantic tension and several characters having to suppress the desire for forbidden love. My favorite person in this story was Pierre. He was an amazing secondary character. I really hope he returns in the second book.
While this first book in the series had a heart warming conclusion, it's obviously not the end of the Clavell family's suffering. This novel does an excellent job of showing how their trials do strengthen their faith.
In the Shadow of the Sun King was published by Thomas Nelson and released in Sept 2008.