Monday, June 13, 2016
Promised to the Crown...Review
Bound for a new continent, and a new beginning.
In her illuminating debut novel, Aimie K. Runyan masterfully blends fact and fiction to explore the founding of New France through the experiences of three young women who, in 1667, answer Louis XIV’s call and journey to the Canadian colony.
They are known as the filles du roi, or “King’s Daughters”—young women who leave prosperous France for an uncertain future across the Atlantic. Their duty is to marry and bring forth a new generation of loyal citizens. Each prospective bride has her reason for leaving—poverty, family rejection, a broken engagement. Despite their different backgrounds, Rose, Nicole, and Elisabeth all believe that marriage to a stranger is their best, perhaps only, chance of happiness.
Once in Quebec, Elisabeth quickly accepts baker Gilbert Beaumont, who wants a business partner as well as a wife. Nicole, a farmer’s daughter from Rouen, marries a charming officer who promises comfort and security. Scarred by her traumatic past, Rose decides to take holy vows rather than marry. Yet no matter how carefully she chooses, each will be tested by hardship and heartbreaking loss—and sustained by the strength found in their uncommon friendship, and the precarious freedom offered by their new home.
Before reading Promised to the Crown, I had no idea that young women were sent from France to Canada as prospective brides. The premise fascinated me and the story was engrossing. The novel follows three women as they leave France for Canada: Rose, Nicole and Elisabeth. Each woman has her reasons for leaving, believing that marrying a stranger is better than remaining in France.
The women bond on the voyage over and despite the different circumstances they find themselves in, their friendship and loyalty to each other sustains and encourages them.
I love books featuring strong women. I love books that feature women who advocate for and support one another. This book had that in spades. Even the nuns who sheltered the women until they found husbands were strong and protective of these girls.
I found the book to be well researched and I thought the characters were well rounded. Their individual stories weren't without trial and tribulation, but each was able to find a life for herself and each was able to overcome individual struggles. There are some secondary characters whose stories I believe will be expanded in the next book and I am thrilled to know that.
First in the Daughters of New France series, I am anxiously awaiting the next book Duty to the Crown.
Thanks to the author and Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Aimie K. Runyan here. You can purchase your own copy here.
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