Why this book…
Sometimes I have really strange reading habits, like jumping into the middle of a series. Case in point, Jocelyn Green’s Heroines Behind the Lines series which consists of 4 books. I began book #3 Yankee in Atlanta in July 2014, and 5 months later I read/reviewed book #4 Spy of Richmond.
Fast forward to June 2016… My book club was looking for a patriotic read to discuss during our July meeting. The battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1-3, so I suggested we read Widow of Gettysburg (book #2). Not only did we enjoy her book, but Jocelyn Green took the time to Skype with us! She had already won us over with her writing, but we loved her sweet and humble personality even more. During our chat she gave us a teaser for The Mark of the King, her work-in-progress. For these past few months, we have been counting down the days until it’s January 3rd 2017 release. Anticipation? You bet!
Captivating! The Mark of the King takes place between 1719 and 1722, covering a period of Louisiana’s colonial history that is seldom written about in historical fiction. Interesting facts about the living conditions in the French settlement, interactions with the Indians, midwifery, and early medicine bolster the tale, while Jocelyn Green’s emotive writing tugs at your heartstrings.
Falsely imprisoned in Paris’s notorious Salpêtrière, Juliane Chevalier receives the king’s brand, a fleur-de-lys, on her arm. Upon her conditional release, she and other female inmates are given the command, “Populate Louisiana and help secure our [France’s] hold on the land. Now find your mate.” She then embarks on a voyage to the New World with her body and soul shackled to a stranger through a forced marriage. Awaiting their arrival was the town of New Orleans — rugged, under supplied, riddled with disease and mosquitos, and under constant threat of attack by Indians who were allied with the British. Life was perilous for all, but for Juliane, being branded a murderer wrought additional suffering and shame at the hands of the townspeople. Who will offer hope in her despair or extend grace instead of judgement?
Multi-dimensional characters are woven into a historical tapestry that in itself is stranger than fiction. Additionally, Green is among a shortlist of authors who have been able to move me to tears! Her relatable characters coupled with the books intrigue and refreshing originality earn it a 5 star rating. The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green is my first Book Club Top Pick of 2017.
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I received a free copy from Bethany House Publishers through the Netgalley review program. All opinions are my own.