Publication Date: 16th December 2021
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Genre: Historical Women’s Fiction
La Rochelle France, 1661. Fierce Protestant Isabelle is desperate to escape persecution by the Catholic King. Isabelle is tortured and harassed, her people forced to convert to the religion that rules the land. She risks her life by helping her fellow Protestants, which is forbidden by the powers of France. She accepts her fate — until she meets a handsome Catholic soldier who makes her question everything.
She fights off an attack by a nobleman, and the only way to save herself is to flee to the colony of Canada as a Daughter of the King. She can have money, protection and a new life — if she adopts the religion she’s spent a lifetime fighting. She must leave her homeland and the promises of her past. In the wild land of Canada, Isabelle finds that her search for love and faith has just begun.
Based on the incredible true story of the French orphans who settled Canada, Daughter of the King is a sweeping tale of one young woman’s fight for true freedom. Kerry Chaput brings the past to life, expertly weaving a gripping saga with vivid historical details. Jump back in time on a thrilling adventure with an unforgettable heroine.
The walk to the barn heightens my tension with every step. The girls are giddy. They whisper to each other about men and marriage. Hope and excitement. The sun beats down on my skin, a soft breeze fluttering a loose curl in my face. I stop to fix it, holding myself in the still afternoon where a hummingbird rattles its wings, feeding on a field thistle.
“Come, Mademoiselle Colette. Do not dawdle,” the Sister says.
With a deep inhale of the warm air, I step into the barn. The other girls are lined up along the long wall, equal distance apart, as the nuns fuss with their dresses, their hair, and pinch their cheeks into a rosy blush.
I take my place. Dust particles float in the air, the scent of moist wood and hay lingers. My heart races and I can still hear that hummingbird beat its wings, ready to take flight.
“Now girls, the men will be here shortly. You will meet with each one of them, converse for five minutes, then we will move them along to the next girl, and the next. If at any point, you wish to choose one, step forward and alert us.”
“What happens then?” Louise asks.
“There’s a notary waiting in the next room. Once you sign your contract, you’re free to start your new life.”
Just like that. You choose a man from a crowd. A stranger who doesn’t know your past, your fears. Your scars.
“Isn’t this exciting,” a young girl says to me.
I force a smile.
The doors open. A crowd of men with wide eyes remove their hats, peeking over each other’s shoulders to gawk at the barn full of marriageable women.
The nuns lead the first group to spots marked in the dirt, a few feet in front of each of us.
A man stands before me. When he smiles, all I can see is the gaping hole where his front teeth should be.
He says his name, where he lives, and the size of his plot. I don’t focus on his words. All I can see is the dark cavern in his mouth.
A man with a flowing mane of facial hair that reminds me of a horse’s tail. It’s probably as dirty as one, too.
Then a man old enough to be my grandfather. He tears up discussing his late wife and I soften to him. Until he asks if I would like to take his wife’s place. The washing is so difficult to manage.
I hold back a very deep sigh.
A man who fidgets and scratches at his temple as he stutters out his name. Then the name of his friend. He peeks out a field mouse from his pocket as twitchy as him.
Louise screeches when she glimpses the little creature.
Two nuns hurry over and hook his arms. They lead him away as one says, “Monsieur, we told you not to bring the mouse.”
My hand covers my mouth, stifling a laugh, then a cough to cover my outburst. I gather myself, smiling to greet the next settler.
Born in California wine country, Kerry Chaput began writing shortly after earning her Doctorate degree. Her love of storytelling began with a food blog and developed over the years to writing historical fiction novels. Raised by a teacher of US history, she has always been fascinated by tales from our past and is forever intrigued by the untold stories of brave women. She lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon with her husband, two daughters, and two rescue pups. She can often be found on hiking trails or in coffee shops. To learn more, connect with her at www.kerrywrites.com or Twitter @ChaputKerry.
This excerpt really makes me want to read on.ReplyDelete