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My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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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I don't think I've ever read a book with a story-line quite like this one. I was totally drawn into the life of Julianne and felt so many emotions while reading her story. Outrage and horror at the way she is so quickly and falsely accused of murder and convicted (and branded) with a life sentence! Hope when she is offered a new life by being exiled to the French colony of Louisiana. Fear when she is forced to wed a fellow convict in order to achieve this new life. Hope again when things seem to be going well with her new husband. Sorrow when tragedy strikes more than once and her dreams of a new life seem to be shattered. Dismay and consternation at the dangers and absolute ruggedness of the land and the people in and around the colony. Anger at the way the French officers and soldiers treat the settlers. And through it all, little God moments... whew! Will Julianne ever have a chance at true love and a happy if not peaceful life?
All in all, a very well written book with a depth of emotions that will keep you turning pages and leave you feeling satisfied. :)
*Thanks to Litfuse for a complimentary copy of this book. I was not paid or required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.*
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The Mark of the King