Book Title: The King’s Command: For God or Country
Author: Rosemary Hayes
Publication Date: July 3rd, 2023
Publisher: Sharpe Books
Page Length: 415
Genre: Historical Fiction
Sixteen-year-old Lidie Brunier has everything; looks, wealth, health and a charming suitor, but there are dark clouds on the horizon. Lidie and her family are committed Huguenots, and Louis XIV has sworn to stamp out this ‘false religion’ and make France a wholly Catholic country. Gradually Lidie’s comfortable life starts to disintegrate as Huguenots are stripped of all rights and the King sends his brutal soldiers into their homes to force them to become Catholics. Others around her break under pressure, but Lidie and her family refuse to convert. With spies everywhere and the ever-present threat of violence, they struggle on. Then a shocking betrayal forces Lidie’s hand and her only option is to try and flee the country, a decision that brings unimaginable hardship, terror and tragedy and changes her life forever.
“One of the very best historical novels I have ever read.” Sandra Robinson, Huguenot Ancestry Expert
This title is available to read with #KindleUnlimited.
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/bW6zGG
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0CB4RH68S
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Kings-Command-God-Country-ebook/dp/B0CB4RH68S/
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/Kings-Command-God-Country-ebook/dp/B0CB4RH68S/
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/Kings-Command-God-Country-ebook/dp/B0CB4RH68S/
Do you have French Huguenot ancestors? If so, have any stories come down to you about their experience – what they endured, why they chose the risk of leaving France, how they decided to come to the country where they eventually settled? My answer to the first question is yes, but the scant information that was passed down through family stories and recorded over a century ago turns out to contain many errors. I blogged about my own Huguenot history yesterday and hope you will take a peek at it: https://wp.me/p9O7pv-3sP
In The King’s Command, author Rosemary Hayes has brought us a thoroughly researched and detailed account of life for one Huguenot family in southwestern France. Her story opens in 1680, some five years before King Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes and required all protestants to convert to Catholicism: “One king, one country, one religion.” That the family are her direct ancestors and she has been able to visit the French town where they lived has added greatly to the richness and veracity of her fictionalized account.
I especially appreciated the author’s careful parsing of each step of the transition from respected freely worshipping tradesmen and professionals to a persecuted minority with no rights to property, profession, freedom of religion, or even life itself that took place in France over the decade of the 1680s and beyond.
The persecution and exodus were not a single event, although the crisis peaked in 1685. By opening her novel five years earlier, the author has succeeded in conveying not only the gradual escalation of attacks and curtailment of rights that preceded the revocation, but also how news traveled, how families learned what was happening to others like them, how they first attempted to protect themselves and their assets, and how they began to consider whether to stay or flee. The peril and travails of her family in their escape is a story shared by thousands, many of whom did not make it.
The novel is well written, engaging, and rich with accurate historical detail. I found it easy to imagine my own ancestors, likely in a different region of France, gradually learning and observing those same changes and weighing their options as the depredations and dangers increased and came closer to home. A highly recommended read. Adriana Kraft
About Rosemary Hayes:
Rosemary Hayes has written over fifty books for children and young adults. She writes in different genres, from edgy teenage fiction (The Mark), historical fiction (The Blue Eyed Aborigine and Forgotten Footprints), middle grade fantasy (Loose Connections, The Stonekeeper’s Child and Break Out) to chapter books for early readers and texts for picture books. Many of her books have won or been shortlisted for awards and several have been translated into different languages.
Rosemary has travelled widely but now lives in South Cambridgeshire. She has a background in publishing, having worked for Cambridge University Press before setting up her own company Anglia Young Books which she ran for some years. She has been a reader for a well-known authors’ advisory service and runs creative writing workshops for both children and adults.
Rosemary has recently turned her hand to adult fiction and her historical novel ‘The King’s Command’ is about the terror and tragedy suffered by the French Huguenots during the reign of Louis XIV.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rosemary-Hayes/e/B00NAPAPZC