Friday, March 6, 2009

Review: In the Shadow of the Sun King by Golden Keyes Parsons

Book One in the Darkness to Light Series

Madeleine Clavell lives happily with her husband, Francois, and three children in seventeenth century rural France. King Louis XIV has determined to unite France to one religion, Catholicism, and the result has been the rampant persecution of Protestants. Though Madeleine and her family are Protestant, they have been left alone due to her father's previous service at court and her own youthful dalliance with the King.

Everything changes when the King's Dragoons burst into their lives, demanding housing and wreaking havoc. Protestant children have been forcibly removed from their parents for raising by the Catholic church, so Madeleine and Francois manage to help their two small sons escape with the aid of their Uncle Jean.

In an attempt to stop the tyranny of the Dragoons, Madeleine journeys to Paris. She hopes that she can call on her prior relationship with Louis to prevent the destruction of her family's lives. She manages to meet with him, but he demands a price that she is unwilling to pay. When she returns home she is dealt a terrible blow and it will take all of her faith and fortitude to face the future and the coming trials.

"When your homeland, the hills and trees and rivers where you have built a home and a life and raised a family, is snatched away, where do you go? When the tapestry of your life that you have woven together through the years with the threads of laughter and tears is rent, what patch is used to mend the tear?"

King Louis XIV

The author based the idea for this book on a crumbling family diary that she happened to inherit from a relative. I love that this story is based on her own family's history and their journey, both geographical and spiritual. As was so often the case in our history (and, sadly, not entirely unheard of today) they only wanted a place to live simply and practice their religion freely. It is a vividly imagined, captivating novel full of adventure. The lovely thing is that, throughout the trials, a sense of hope and deep faith is maintained. I can't wait for the second installment in this series, A Prisoner at Versailles, coming out in the fall of 2009.

For more information, you can visit the author's website.

In the Shadow of the Sun King is published by Thomas Nelson. ISBN 978-1-59554-626-5.

Take a look at some other reviews of this book:

A Reader's Respite

Novel Teen

Nancy Famolari's Place

The Koala Bear Writer



Beth F said...

I've been reading good things about this one.

bermudaonion said...

Oh, wow - I had no idea that this book is based on an old family diary. That, and your recommendation, make the book very appealing to me.

Molly said...

I am just starting to appreciate historical fiction --- and I have a special place in my heart for the French. Your review has captivated my attention and I would very much like to read this first novel before the 2nd one is released.

Dar said...

Great review. This book sounds great!

Kaye said...

I really enjoyed this book also. The story captivated me from the very beginning and with such a poignant story line. You just have to be in awe of an author who can find an old diary or document and weave such a magical story around it.
Wonderful review, Carey.

Teddy Rose said...

Wonderful review Carey! I added this one to my TBR. Sounds like great historical fiction.

Lisa said...

That sounds fabulous - I also love that it is based on her family.

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

Great review, Carey. I enjoyed the book, but more than that I always like reading about periods in history that aren't extensively covered. It spurs an interest in that time period and that's what I liked most about it.

Golden Keyes Parsons said...

I'm so glad that you enjoyed "Sun King." Thank you for taking the time to post a review - and a great one at that! The adventures of the Clavells continue in Book #2 "A Prisoner Of Versailles" to be released in August 2009. Blessings!

Valerie said...

"The author based the idea for this book on a crumbling family diary that she happened to inherit from a relative." That's pretty exciting!
I'm not big on historical fiction, but I would like to give it a chance
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New Hampshire, United States
Bibliophile, Anglophile, Traveller... I have been an avid reader all of my life, since I took the Dr. Seuss Dictionary away from my Mom when I was less than a year old because I wanted to read it myself. In college, where I earned my degree in English Literature, I was often asked "What are you going to do with it?" Now I finally have the answer to that question!!! Being employed as a Flight Attendant for twenty years has given me a lot of life experience and, better still, a lot of time to read. I love to travel for fun, too.