Life in This New World Requires More Strength Than She Ever Imagined
After the death of her client, midwife Julianne Chevalier is imprisoned and branded, marking her as a criminal beyond redemption. Hoping to reunite with her brother, a soldier, she trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling French colony of Louisiana. The price of her transport, however, is a forced marriage to a fellow convict.
New Orleans is nothing like Julianne expects. The settlement is steeped in mud and mosquitoes, and there is no news of her brother, Benjamin. When tragedy strikes, she turns to military officer Marc-Paul Girard for help, but does he know more about her brother than he will admit?
With her dreams shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous land, where only grace–and love–can overcome the stigma of the king’s mark upon her shoulder.
I enjoyed Jocelyn Green’s Civil War books, and was offered the opportunity to read and review her newest novel. I was attracted by the plot and the location, and it’ll be interesting to see how Green interprets this era of history.
I don’t think I’d ever thought about how the French colonized the Louisiana Territory prior to it becoming part of the United States. Who knew that some of the colonists were convicted criminals, sent to populate the area for France? Before leaving, they were forced to marry someone they’d never met. Then, they were force marched to a port and herded like cattle on to ships bound for New France.
This, then, is how The Mark of the King begins. Julianne initially sees the transport as a way out of prison, and persuades her jailers that her midwifery skills would be useful in the new world. The early chapters read like a dystopian nightmare, however, as she’s forced to marry a man whose name she doesn’t know, and the soldiers make it clear that they’re nothing but guinea pigs in a colonization and population program. Julianne faces tragedy early on but, while the reader knows the truth, she’s unaware of the duplicity and treachery surrounding those circumstances. Despite her criminal status, she makes friends and also attracts the attention of one French soldier who goes out of his way to protect her.
Jocelyn Green has given her readers a vivid portrait of life on the French colonial frontier, especially for the women sent there. It’s a mix of hope and despair, and trust and mistrust. Loosely based on historical events, The Mark of the King steadily builds up the tension until it culminates in a ferocious storm and a fight between life and death. Will Julianne survive with all her hopes and dreams intact? Read the book and decide for yourself.
Thank you to Bethany House and Litfuse Publicity for my complimentary copy of The Mark of the King, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
This review is part of a Litfuse Publicity blog tour
Have you read The Mark of the King? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)
Publication Date: 03 January 2017
Page Count: 416