“An engaging, engrossing debut.”—Greer Macallister, USA Today bestselling author of The Magician’s Lie
Bound for a new continent, and a new beginning.
In her illuminating debut novel, Aimie K. Runyan masterfully blends fact and fiction to explore the founding of New France through the experiences of three young women who, in 1667, answer Louis XIV’s call and journey to the Canadian colony.
They are known as the filles du roi, or “King’s Daughters”—young women who leave prosperous France for an uncertain future across the Atlantic. Their duty is to marry and bring forth a new generation of loyal citizens. Each prospective bride has her reason for leaving—poverty, family rejection, a broken engagement. Despite their different backgrounds, Rose, Nicole, and Elisabeth all believe that marriage to a stranger is their best, perhaps only, chance of happiness.
Once in Quebec, Elisabeth quickly accepts baker Gilbert Beaumont, who wants a business partner as well as a wife. Nicole, a farmer’s daughter from Rouen, marries a charming officer who promises comfort and security. Scarred by her traumatic past, Rose decides to take holy vows rather than marry. Yet no matter how carefully she chooses, each will be tested by hardship and heartbreaking loss—and sustained by the strength found in their uncommon friendship, and the precarious freedom offered by their new home.
“An absorbing adventure with heart.”—Jennifer Laam, author of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar
About the Author
Aimie K. Runyan, member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Women's Fiction Writers Association, has been an avid student of French and Francophone Studies for more than fifteen years. While working on her Master's thesis on the brave women who helped found French Canada, she was fortunate enough to win a generous grant from the Quebec government to study onsite for three months which enabled the detailed research necessary for her work. Aimie lives in Colorado with her husband and two children.
Read an Excerpt
Promised to the Crown
By Aimie K. Runyan
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2016 Aimie K. Runyan
All rights reserved.
June 1667, The Salpêtrière Charity Hospital, Paris
One, two, three strokes up ... Rinse. One, two, three strokes down. Rinse. Move three inches to the right....
Rose Barré scoured the floor on her hands and knees, her once fine hands now raw, cracked, and bleeding, as she tried to rid the small room of the stench. The battle was futile. One painfully clean dormitory cell would not mask the stink of filth and disease that permeated the dozens of other cells surrounding it. The fetid smell of mold, piss, and unwashed flesh hit Rose in the face each morning as she opened her eyes and kept her from her sleep at night, despite all the promises that she would grow used to it. This was one of Rose's bad days, where, no matter what she did, she could not stop scrubbing, even though her officière had forbidden the endless scouring. No matter how Rose tried to reason with herself, she could never get the room clean enough to sate the urge. She wiped her black, matted curls from her forehead with the back of her hand and moved the brush three inches to the right.
The church bells rang not far from Rose's room, causing her to look up from the soapy scrub marks. She tossed her brush in the bucket of murky water with more vigor than necessary. I'm going to be late. Missing a lesson would not be worth the resultant reprimand, no matter how much Rose longed to continue her attack on the perpetually grimy floor. She looked down at the water stains on the knees of her dingy canvas apron. Oh well, I haven't another. I'll bear the disapproving eyes of the Sisters as I always do.
Before she reached the door to the classroom, Rose heard voices raised in argument coming from Sister Vérité's rooms. She scuttled past the open door on her way to the catechism room with every attempt at silence. She laid her hand on the classroom's door handle when Sister Vérité called her name. She froze. Curse my luck! Rose groaned quietly. Rose turned back and entered the well-ordered apartment that served as Sister Vérité's office and living quarters, leaving the musty hallway behind. The familiar rooms smelled of candle wax and book dust, not unpleasant for a room in the Salpêtrière. As she entered, Rose saw Sister Charité, the Supérieure herself, seated behind the large walnut desk.
"Hello, Sister," Rose stammered.
She realized that raised voice had been Vérité's; the younger officière had dared to argue with the Supérieure. Rose felt a cold stone growing in the hollow of her stomach as she took the proffered chair.
"Sister Vérité and I were just discussing you, my child," Sister Charité said.
Rose felt the rock in her stomach grow larger still.
"Me, Sister?" Rose asked. Given the immense scope of the Supérieure's duties, Rose figured her goings-on were as significant to the head of the massive establishment as the scurrying of ants.
"Yes, my dear," the Supérieure said, looking Rose over. "You know that your skills and talents, your education, have not gone unnoticed by Sister Vérité. Therefore, you have not gone unnoticed by me. The question, child, is where your talents are best spent."
Sister Vérité's preference for Rose was no surprise. From her arrival at the charity hospital three years prior, the Sister earmarked her as a "bijou," a gem. Rose learned this meant that she was being groomed to be an officière herself one day. Sister Vérité's kindness in those early days, Rose was certain, was the only thing that kept her heart from breaking. She had shadowed the young woman ever since. More recently, she'd taken on the unofficial role of assistant. They're here to make me a sous-officière, Rose concluded, but was relieved only momentarily. My appointment wouldn't make Vérité displeased. Surely, one as young and inexperienced as I wouldn't be asked to serve in La Force to work with the lunatics and thieves. The stone turned to bile that threatened to escape its confines as she pondered the possibility. Life in the dormitories felt like purgatory, but from what Rose understood from the stories, the hospital prison was hell itself.
Sister Charité shifted position in her seat, seemingly adjusting her thoughts as well. "You are, without question, of great use to us here. Sister Vérité vehemently supports taking you on as an officière. I have no doubt you would serve us admirably in that capacity. The King, however, needs young women to go to New France as brides for his settlers there. In his wisdom, His Majesty has ordered us to send some of our best, that they might marry and end their reliance on the Royal treasury and solve His Majesty's colonial woes in one gesture. I think you would be an ideal choice. You are young, you are strong and healthy — a good worker, too."
The room filled with a heavy silence as the Sisters waited for some response from Rose, who stared downward at her splotched apron.
"I leave the choice to you," Sister Charité said. "I suggest you consider your options carefully. I will expect your answer in the morning."
Sister Charité gave her officière a pointed glare and left the room with her usual efficiency. New France? Rose's hands shook at the very prospect. All she knew was that it was a cold, lonely place, far to the west. Only the bravest of men attempted the voyage, and fewer chose to make a life there. Could the good Sister, who preached to the inmates about the virtues of femininity and the place of women in the home, be serious about sending her — and others — to the colony?
Vérité looked at her charge with pleading eyes. "Sister Charité would not wish me to sway your decision, Rose, but I must speak. You cannot think to leave. Not for some desolate patch of wilderness that the King has taken a fancy to."
"Truly, Sister, I do not know what to think." Rose, who had never in the course of her life been given leave to make her own decisions, now had less than twenty-four hours to decide her own fate.
"You are needed here, Rose," Sister Vérité said. "The children admire and love you. You have purpose here, helping the poor of Paris. Stay and be an example to them. What awaits you in New France? Bitter cold? A man, gone half-savage, who expects you to keep his shack? Child after child until bearing children kills you? Is that what you want?"
Rose looked at her mentor. Vérité's eyes shone with terror. Rose thought of a husband. One to treat her each night as her uncle had. Callous. Uncaring. Cruel. Rose had no desire to relive the torture she had endured at his hands.
Vérité smiled at Rose, taking the girl's hand in her own. "The Salpêtrière isn't paradise, but it is safe. Now, hurry along to class."
Rose's prayers and responses to the questions on her catechism that afternoon were distracted at best. If Sister Jeanne, normally a stickler for attentiveness, noticed Rose's comportment, she said nothing. The lenience made more sense when Rose remembered that Sister Charité had mentioned others would go to New France as well. The officières would certainly know who the candidates were. There are no secrets in a place like this. Not ones anyone can keep for long.
After catechism came supper, an ample bowl of hearty beef soup and crusty bread, a substantial degree better than the usual fare. It still tasted as pleasant as soot in Rose's mouth that night. Excused from her evening duties, Rose returned to her room after supper and paced the floors, still dingy for all her toils. A fatigue, much deeper than she had ever felt, washed over her. She felt crippled by the enormity of the decision. She thumbed through her prayer book, but knew it would give her no solace that night. She looked at her ratty mattress, but knew sleep would not come. She opted for the hard wire bristles of her scrub brush instead.
Even three long years weren't enough for Rose to adjust to the cesspool that was her prison. Her heart still broke with each injustice. All it took was a letter from a well-connected member of society to the right people, and a woman was imprisoned in this "charity hospital" for the rest of her days. A girl who refused to marry a man a quarter century her senior, another who took a profession as a secretary without her father's blessing, women branded as mad by husbands who wished to be rid of them. Most common were the countless orphans, like Rose, whose families simply couldn't be bothered with their care. These were Rose's companions now, so very unlike the ones her beloved father had envisioned for her.
As she scrubbed, Rose remembered her father's face, lined with kindness. A successful merchant, he'd lost his life over a hand of vingt-et-un with a disgruntled client when Rose was barely twelve years old. Her mother died giving birth to her, and Rose was sent to live with her aunt and uncle on their estate outside of Paris. A palace of crystal chandeliers, gilded furniture, and gardens manicured to the point they no longer resembled anything from nature. For two and a half happy years Rose's aunt doted upon her niece and Rose reveled in spoiling her young cousins. Then her uncle took notice of Rose's developing breasts and soft red lips.
Too frequently, Rose remembered that first evening when she gently shut the door to the nursery and released a grateful sigh that the day was coming to a close. She had just finished tucking in little Luce after three stories and a promise of more tomorrow, and Rose was ready to find her own bed.
"Tired, my dear?" asked Uncle Grégoire, approaching his niece from a spot in the shadows farther down the hall.
Rose gasped, not having heard her uncle approach, and not used to his presence in this wing of the house. His children, while necessary for the protection of the estate, were of little interest to him in many respects. "You gave me a start, Uncle!" cried Rose. "Yes, yes, I am tired. The children were particularly energetic today."
Grégoire clucked his tongue in disapproval. "You work too hard, my dear. You were not brought here to be a servant, you know."
"Of course, Uncle. But I enjoy the children immensely."
"Let their mother and the servants attend to them, my dear." Grégoire was now standing only inches from Rose, and his proximity was beginning to make her nervous. She would have taken a step back, but she was all but pinned to the nursery door. Rose looked at her uncle, not knowing what to say by way of a response.
"You're not a chatty girl," remarked Grégoire, running a finger down his niece's flushed cheek. "I like that. You please me a great deal, you know." His fingertip reached its objective ... the swell of her lower lip.
"I do?" muttered Rose, covertly looking for a way to escape. She saw none.
"Oh yes," said Grégoire. "I don't want you wasting your energies on the children. I will keep you as my pet. Do you understand? Your aunt must never know."
Before she could answer that she, in fact, did not understand what her uncle wanted from her, his mouth was upon hers. Trapped, Rose had no choice but to press herself against the door. His right hand moved from her hair to the front of her dress, grabbing the soft swell of her breast, causing Rose to whine in displeasure.
"To your room, now," he commanded, pulling away from her and grabbing her arm, forcing her to follow.
Once in the small bedchamber, he divested himself of most of his clothes and began to yank her dress from her shivering frame. He shoved her to the bed and tears rolled down her cheeks as he took her roughly, without consideration for her innocence.
"Good girl," he said, throwing his clothes back on before Aunt Martine noticed his absence. "You will wait up for me each night unless I give you leave otherwise. Do you understand?"
"Yes, Uncle," she said, wiping the tears from her face.
"You will come to enjoy it, little pet." He cast a glance at the bloodstains on her bed. "Now see to your sheets before your aunt notices the mess."
And so it continued for six months. Uncle Grégoire did not miss an evening, and despite his assertion to the contrary, she never came to enjoy his unwanted attentions. Each month, Rose feared she would miss her course and she would be utterly ruined. Worse, Rose began to worry her uncle would never tire of her and continue his nightly visits forever. She longed to tell her aunt, but didn't want to break her heart when she learned what a monster her husband was. She knew she was ruined for marriage, but she hoped that if the whole disgusting affair stayed secret she might remain a sort of spinster aunt who cared for the children and eventually their own children.
That was until one night when, without preamble, Rose's bedroom door was flung open just as her uncle was dressing to leave.
"You little whore." Aunt Martine looked with hate, not at her half- naked husband, but at Rose, who lay trembling, trying to forget his embraces.
The next morning Rose was taken from her bed with nothing but her oldest dress and most basic belongings in tow. With one word from her aunt, she was now a ward of the state and a prisoner of the Salpêtrière. Stripped of all she ever knew and loved, she was terrified of this new hell in which she found herself.
Rose was abandoned, screaming, at the gates of the Salpêtrière. The fear gripped her like the cold fingers of death. She was certain she wouldn't live out the night, so she wasn't afraid that her screams would earn her a beating. Seeing the dawn light through her cell window proved a disappointment that morning and many afterward.
Rose thought of her father often. Sometimes she indulged in the fantasy that he was miraculously returned to life. She imagined his face as he saw her on her knees scrubbing the floor in a tattered dress. When he learned where she was, what his brother had done to her, there would be another duel, this time with a far more satisfactory outcome. In her childhood, she was given every whim of her heart, coddled and loved by him and a long string of overindulgent governesses. He loved to tell Rose how much she looked like his beloved, lamented wife. So far as Rose knew, he never loved another woman. She treasured the thought like a precious jewel. Like the emerald brooch of her mother's that now her aunt surely kept for herself.
Before her confinement, Rose had been only vaguely aware of the charity hospital's existence. The vast, imposing compound of moldy brick and human stink had terrified her, as it did most children. As the sheltered daughter of the bourgeoisie, Rose had only rarely visited the sector of Paris where the specter of the Salpêtrière loomed over the surrounding streets. She didn't realize, then, how fortunate that made her.
She had assumed that, like many institutions of its kind, the Church had the running of the Salpêtrière, but Rose learned with surprise that the staff was a secular one. Adopting the title "Sister" and abandoning given names for religious monikers was only ceremonial. Despite the lack of official ties to the Church, the members of the staff were all deeply religious. They espoused the virtues of routine and constant occupation. Prayer, study, chores, meals. No idleness to tempt the "weak souls" in their charge. She overheard the officières use the term more than once. Are we really weak? Or merely inconvenient?
Can I truly stay in such a place? Her grip on the brush was painful, but she gave it no heed.
Vérité was right; in the hospital, Rose's life had purpose. The children, the staff — they needed her, appreciated her, treated her well. But what awaited her in the Salpêtrière? A larger room? A salary? One day a month to escape into Paris under the watchful eye of a chaperone?
Were those small liberties enough?
Rose imagined that Vérité was also right about what awaited her in New France: harsh conditions, certainly ... but perhaps a family of her own as well.
Papa had been wonderful, but he alone did not constitute a family. In the years before she lived with her uncle, Rose had always pictured herself with a large brood of children, to make up for her own lack of brothers and sisters. That would never happen without a husband, though the thought sickened her. It would never happen in the Salpêtrière.
In her logical mind she knew that not all men were such demons, but she could not separate the marriage act from the memory of her uncle's careless, often painful, fumbling. Though her governesses and nannies had never discussed the topic with her, she'd had a vague idea of what happened between a husband and wife. She imagined it was a gentle, loving act of submission where the woman entrusted her body, soul, and heart to the man of her choice. Her uncle had shown her it was a brutish, animal act that she had no interest in ever repeating. The rough hands, putrid breath, his complete disregard for her pleas to stop ... She could live happily never letting another man come so close to her ever again.
* * *
All too soon, dawn's weak sunlight peeked into the minuscule window of Rose's cell, stripes of light painting her scrubbed floor. Rose would have to meet with Sister Charité soon, yet still she had no answer. She made up her mind, and changed it, a dozen times over the course of the sleepless night.
Excerpted from Promised to the Crown by Aimie K. Runyan. Copyright © 2016 Aimie K. Runyan. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsAdvance praise for Aimie K. Runyan and Promised to the Crown,
PART 1 - 1667,
Chapter 1 - Rose,
Chapter 2 - Elisabeth,
Chapter 3 - Nicole,
Chapter 4 - Elisabeth,
Chapter 5 - Rose,
Chapter 6 - Nicole,
Chapter 7 - Elisabeth,
Chapter 8 - Rose,
Chapter 9 - Nicole,
Chapter 10 - Elisabeth,
Chapter 11 - Rose,
Chapter 12 - Elisabeth,
Chapter 13 - Nicole,
Chapter 14 - Rose,
Chapter 15 - Elisabeth,
Chapter 16 - Nicole,
Chapter 17 - Rose,
Chapter 18 - Nicole,
Chapter 19 - Elisabeth,
Chapter 20 - Rose,
Chapter 21 - Elisabeth,
Chapter 22 - Nicole,
Chapter 23 - Rose,
Chapter 24 - Elisabeth,
Chapter 25 - Nicole,
Chapter 26 - Rose,
Chapter 27 - Elisabeth,
Chapter 28 - Nicole,
Chapter 29 - Rose,
Chapter 30 - Nicole,
Chapter 31 - Elisabeth,
Chapter 32 - Rose,
Epilogue - Rose,
A READING GROUP GUIDE,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Being a Canadian, I had learned bits about this period in history, but this book brought it alive for me. I absolutely loved this story and am looking forward to the next one: [book:Duty to the Crown|28814283]. It is 1667 and France wants to secure it's colony in North America known as "New France". To do this, the King offered young women of various stations a dowry and passage to the colony in order to marry one of the settlers and raise families. The belief was that once entrenched in New France, the settlers would protect it, in the event of an attack by the British or the Indigenous People. These women were known as The Filles du Roi. They were orphans or from families down on their luck. They might have been women fleeing from a bad match their parent's made and they did not want to follow through on but they all had to have a letter of comportment from their priest. The story is told from the point of view of three of these strong women, Rose, Nicole and Elisabeth. Each came from a different background, yet on the ship over, forged a friendship that enabled them to survive the harsh conditions and trying circumstances of the colony. The other characters in the story included the nuns who assisted them upon arrival, the future husbands, clergy, government officials and other settlers. They all added to the descriptions of the land, the struggles faced, the society that developed and the prejudices that followed them from France. Even though this was a new land, the expectations of women was still drawn from the French culture. They were helpmates, mothers, homemakers not equal partners in the marriage. The three brave, strong and independent women who tell this story were fortunate to meet and marry men that felt differently and in private at least, they had much more freedom than others. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There were some humorous moments as well as tragic and sad ones. There is some romance and adventure as well. Watching the relationships develop between the women, the sisters (nuns), the spouses and the adopted children kept me reading long past my bedtime. This is one period of history that I had not really read about and the amount of information imparted in this fictional story was excellent. The excellent research was evident in the story and has peaked my interest in this period of my country's history. I invite all of you to read this story and learn about these women, the hardships of the ocean voyage and the life of an early settler. It will not disappoint.
I have always been fascinated by the Filles du Roi (aka - the Daughters of the King). In the 18th century, King Louis of France, gathered young woman of good standing, and under his protection sent them to New France for the sole purpose of marrying and begetting children to populate the new world. Many of the young women came from convents, or were orphans, or were from noble families who had come upon hard times. After the perilous journey to Quebec, these women had their pick of men to marry. This novel is about several young women and their experience beginning in France until they arrived in Canada, and after their marriages. It is very much a tail of hardship, of adapting to, and earning a living in a harsh new world, of love and hope and dreams. Not all marriages worked well. This is very much a tale of courage and adversity. What is wonderful is that the story will continue with a future book 2 and 3. As a Canadian and having visited Quebec and even having done a bit of research into the King's Daughters, I found the novel very well written and accurate. As all character drive novels, the plot is a little slower but steady. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and am eagerly awaiting the future books in this fabulous trilogy. Highly recommended - especially for Canadian Book Clubs. Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for visiting my blog, http://greathistoricals.blogspot.ca, where the greatest historical fiction is reviewed! For fascinating women of history bios and women's fiction please visit http://www.historyandwomen.com.
As we all know I am a fan of historical fiction books so I thought it would be fun to read a new book about something which I am unfamiliar with. It was very intersting to learn about the women who set out to help settle Canada for their king. I thought the author did a good job in her first book with making the characters come alive on the pages as well as her descriptions were vivid. You can tell that she did some research when writing this book. I can not imagine the hardships that these women had to go through in their new ventures. They had to be tough. This was just the first book in a trilogy and I am looking foward to the other two books as we learn more about the women who are settling Quebec.
FTC Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed are mine. Either I missed it in history class or little was included in our history curriculum about New France, or as we know it, Quebec, in the 17th century. And it seems less may be known about the colonization of this area. Imagine this: You have been ostracized in France for some reason and sent to a nunnery, prison, or orphanage. Life isn’t easy. You have the opportunity to sail to New France and when you arrive, it will be your job to marry and have babies to populate the area. Appealing? Not on the surface, but if you want out of your current situation badly enough, this would be extraordinarily appealing. We meet and follow Rose, a young woman living in deplorable conditions and with a history which has left her with a strong distaste for men and the idea of marriage. On the crossing, Rose meets Nicole and Elisabeth. The three bond quickly and support each other in carrying for the younger girls traveling with them. Once again, they find themselves living with nuns of the Ursuline Order but this is entirely different from any previous experience. The Ursuline Order is there to assist in matchmaking with the men in the territory. Some matches are good and loving; others are not. But if you want to return to France, you take your chances. You may die on the return crossing, or you may end up in worse circumstances than when you left. Despite the darkness of these conditions as you read my review, there is a great deal of hope among the women and the men. They see great promise in New France, and it is their dream they will be able to bring other family over at some time in the future. Babies are born, and often are lost early in their lives. This doesn’t stop the population from increasing however. These are people, and especially the women, who don’t give up easily when they have a dream to fulfill. If you are a fan of historical fiction set in this geographical area or this time period, Aimie Runyan has written the first in a trilogy which promises to bring more good reading to your shelves. Be sure to check out Promised to the Crown (Daughters of New France, Book No. 1). You won’t be sorry!
I adore fiction that teaches me something while it sweeps me into a story. Aimie K. Runyan’s beautifully written debut Promised to the Crown is one such novel. But Promised to the Crown is so much more than an intriguing look at history. It follows three women as they forge a lasting friendship with each other, one that begins on their journey across the ocean and endures long after they arrive in New France. The glimpses into their backstories, each varied and tragic in their own way, enhance the poignancy of their present circumstances and make their quests for happiness all the richer. Rose, Elisabeth, and Nicole – three distinct women, three distinct narratives, three intertwined stories. My favorite was perhaps Elisabeth. Though her story at times was the most heartbreaking to read, she also was the character who consistently displayed the most strength. Her relationship with Gilbert, in my opinion, was the healthiest and most authentically loving out of the three friends. She also knew her worth – not only as a woman but as a businesswoman – and I thoroughly enjoyed watching she and Gilbert build their business as well as their relationship together. Bottom Line: Rich with intriguing history, vivid characters, and a captivating style, Promised to the Crown is a stellar debut for Aimie K. Runyan. Readers will invest in Rose, Elisabeth and Nicole, rooting for them and crying for them and hoping for them. In parts both romantic and tragic, Promised to the Crown always carries an air of poignancy that engages and inspires. A novel which will cause every woman’s heart to swell in pride, solidarity, and gratitude for those who forged the path ahead of us. (I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
Promised to the Crown by Aimie K. Runyan is the first book in the Daughters of New France series. Louis XIV is looking for young women of good moral character to send to New France. The men there need brides and the King wanted to see this new area prosper and grow. Elisabeth Martin, Nicole Deschamps, and Rose Barre have decided to go to this new world (three of many). They are each looking for a new start. Elisabeth is the daughter of a baker father (who recently passed away) and a mother who quickly got over her husband. Her mother is looking to marry off Elisabeth (and she does not like the choice). Elisabeth is hoping to find a compatible husband in New France (who will appreciate her baking talent). Rose is an orphan who grew up in The Salpetriere Charity Hospital (and orphanage) after her aunt threw her out of their home (her uncle was abusing her and the aunt blamed Rose—a 12-year-old child). Rose is currently working at Salpetriere, but it is like living in a prison. Rose will take a chance and go to New France, but she is not sure she will be able to marry (hard to overcome what her uncle did to her). Nicole is a farm girl who is getting over a broken engagement. Her fiancé broke it off with her when Nicole no longer had a dowry (methinks it was not true love). Nicole believes her family will be better off with one less mouth to feed. Come join Nicole, Rose, and Elisabeth on their journey to a new life in New France (will become Quebec). Will they find husbands that are right for each of them? Can Rose overcome her past so she can have a happy future? You will have to read Promised to the Crown to find out! Promised to the Crown was a good novel. It is a historical romance novel, but I enjoyed it. We get to see what happens to each woman and I liked the ending. Promised to the Crown is well-written, good pace, and characters that are interesting (and likeable which is important to enjoying a book). The story is told from the three young women’s point-of-view (in third person). We get to see their joys and sorrows and how they fared in this new country. These girls were leaving everything they knew and going forward into an unknown future. That was quite brave. The King (France) paid for their passage across the ocean and they were given lodging and food until they married. There are a couple of slow areas, but they are brief. I give Promised to the Crown 4 out of 5 stars. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series. I received a complimentary copy of Promised to the Crown from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review of the novel.
copy received from author and publisher for an honest review "Promised to the Crown" by Aimie K. Runyan was a refreshing historical read. Runyan takes us to Quebec during the 17the Century. First, I loved learning about this time period that I knew so little about! Second, I had no idea that french women, mostly women who were either orphans or in nunneries were called on by the king of France to settle into the new colony in Quebec. Runyan takes us on this intense journey from France to Quebec with Rose, Nicole and Elizabeth. Through the eyes of these three women, we experience their personal struggles and catch a glimpse of what life was like during these very extreme times! Runyan is able to master three very distinct voices. I never felt like the characters were the same and each one had her own very personal story. I can't help but say that Roses story was so heartbreaking for me. I don't want to give too much away, but she had many obstacles to overcome. Despite all the hardship that these three women encounter prior to traveling to Canada and even after, the story felt like a story about survival and hope. I hope that this is a time period that gets more attention because there were so many issues touched about: loyalty to the crown, a woman's place in french society and then in the colonies, the obstacles of establishing life in a new frontier. Finally, and definitely not least, I want to credit Runyan for introducing Manon. She gives us insight into the indigenous of this area and I cannot wait to see what she has in store for her! Next book is out in October 2016, "Duty to the Crown."
I wasn't sure what I would think about Promised to the Crown in the beginning. I was pleased how refreshing it was to read something with new historical material. I liked the book and hope to read the rest of the series in the future. 5 stars.