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.
There are not enough words to describe how great I think this book is. I love it when I discover a new author, and their first work is a masterpiece. That was certainly the case with In the Shadow of the Sun King. It is a book rich with history and detail, and one that will be on my keeper shelf for years to come.
I have a limited knowledge of French history, and don't typically read books that are written for that point in history. I've only ever heard about the Huguenots by name, not about what they went through for what they knew was truth. I cannot even fathom what it would have been like to live then, and be persecuted for my beliefs. I also cannot comprehend the constant fear that soldiers could be nearby at any time, waiting to raid homes and separate families.
With all that in mind, my heart was deeply engrossed in this family's story. Madeleine's stubbornness is something that I see in myself, and I know I would've insisted as much as she did about making the trip to see King Louis to plead for protection from the dragoons. Francois' gentle spirit even reminds me of my own husband, who, in the face of adversity, would never renounce his faith in Christ. This is a story that you definitely want good to triumph in the end, and it does not disappoint. I am eagerly awaiting the next book in this great series, which is scheduled to release sometime later this year.