Sweeping Historical Fiction Set at the Edge of the Continent
After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.
When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne's brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?
With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king's mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.
|Publisher:||Baker Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including Wedded to War, a Christy Award finalist in 2013, and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. Jocelyn lives with her husband and two children in Iowa. Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.com.
Read an Excerpt
The Mark of the King
By Jocelyn Green
Baker Publishing GroupCopyright © 2017 Jocelyn Green
All rights reserved.
Paris, France September 1719
There it was again.
Suddenly wide awake, Julianne covered her ears. Straw crunched beneath her, needling her skin through the ticking as she inched away from the dank stone wall and closer to the warm body beside her. The bedding, like the damp air forever clinging to her skin, reeked of the waste dumped into the creek beside the prison. On the nights when it was not her turn to sleep by the wall, elbows and knees of bedfellows on either side jabbed her ribs and spine. But it was the screaming that bothered Julianne most.
"What is that? Julianne, what is that?" Whispering too loudly, Emilie propped herself up on her elbow, her hair a spiky halo around her head. Behind her, three more criminals shared the wooden platform that served as their bed.
"It is nothing, only the screaming." Julianne would have been lying if she told the newest inmate at Salpêtrière that she would get used to it in time.
"But why are they screaming like that?"
"They are mad," Julianne murmured. A tickle crawled across her scalp, and she raked her fingernails through her shorn hair until she pinched the vermin off her head. Passing her fingertips over her linen, she searched in the dark for any other offenders, but all she felt were the sharp ridges of her ribs and the narrow valleys between them.
"They sound angry" The whites of Emilie's eyes gleamed in the moonlight.
"They are insane. And likely they are angry too, chained to the walls as they are. Maybe they know they will never get out."
Another shriek ricocheted against the walls tucking Salpêtrière away from the rest of Paris, and Julianne felt their despair reverberate in her soul. Shackled by a life sentence, she too would never leave Salpêtrière. The maison de force was her permanent home now.
In the northernmost section of her building, le commun, hundreds of prostitutes cycled through. In the adjacent maison de correction, libertine women and debauched teenagers were held in isolated cells by lettres de cachet at the requests of their husbands or fathers. And in thirty other dormitories in this massive complex, paupers lived in groups, four to a bed: the invalids, the orphans, nursing mothers, the diseased, the venereal, epileptics, the sick and convalescent, the deformed, able-bodied women and girls, destitute older married couples.
Of course, it was the dormitory holding pregnant women that interested Julianne the most. "I can help them," she had suggested, then begged to be put to use. But though Sister Gertrude had known her before her incarceration, the nun pointed to Julianne's shoulder and shook her head. Impossible. A branded convict was not allowed near birthing mothers, even if those in labor were but prostitutes or mendicants.
Even if the convict was branded for a crime she didn't commit — for such was her suspicion now. Months of lying awake at night, replaying Marguerite's travail and death had revealed what shock and grief had kept hidden in the moment. The bowl that contained the blood Adelaide had drawn from Marguerite's arm was far, far too full. Whether by calculation or accident, Marguerite's fatal loss of blood had more to do with Adelaide's actions than with the birth itself.
Even so, if Julianne had paid closer attention to her client's weakening pulse, if she had humbly called the surgeon in time ... but she hadn't. Whatever had driven Adelaide to go too far, was it pride that had held Julianne from going far enough in the care of her patient?
Poor Marguerite. There was no undoing any of it.
"We will never leave either, you know," Julianne whispered between the snores of the other women.
"Perhaps. There is talk on the outside."
Julianne frowned. "What kind of talk?"
"Talk of freedom, for the small price of exile."
Memories sparked. Of edicts read in the streets, of rumors swirling about a Scotsman named John Law and his plan to populate the Louisiana colony with his Company of the Indies. Of wagon convoys winding through Paris full of people and returning with naught but matted hay Of her brother Benjamin, a smooth-cheeked boy of fourteen when she saw him last. He was a man of eighteen now, the only family she had, and still in Louisiana somewhere.
"They say Law is prowling for more colonists and taking another pass at the prisons to find them."
Julianne sat up and hugged her knees to her chest. "He wants convicts?"
Wrapped in shadows, Emilie shook her head, and Julianne could not help but notice the roundness of her cheeks. With only a bowl of soup and two pounds of black bread a day, the fullness would soon melt away. "Who can say what he's really after? They say this time he's looking for girls of good character, a great many of them. So many, in fact, that Mother Superior has failed to supply his demand."
Julianne quietly considered this. Scant moonlight squeezed through the small windows near the ceiling, skimming the outlines in the room. Her life, which had once been full-bodied and multifaceted, was reduced to the repeated shapes of rectangles. The blocks of stone in the walls that hemmed her in. The wooden beds lining the walls, each one holding four to six inmates. The worktables and benches in the middle of the room, where she ate and stitched and listened to catechism readings twice every day. The slices of black bread, served day after day This was all. Unlike stained-glass windows, which only needed the sun to transform their panes into a riot of living color, this existence was relentlessly, despairingly grey The only variations were the weather that snuck in through the windows, new convicts who arrived by force, and the inmates who escaped by dying.
"They say," Emilie continued, "that a large sum would be paid to Salpêtrière for the girls, but only if enough are given. But they must be very good girls this time, not like you and me, for they are meant to be mothers, to settle the land for France."
"Who says this?"
"I heard the guards talking. Surely they would know."
Julianne nodded while her thoughts spun. From some place unseen, another scream raked the night. If Salpêtrière was to be her home for the rest of her days, if she was never to see her brother again, or a newborn babe, or the beauty beyond these walls, she feared she would join the ranks of the insane long before her sentence expired. Adrift in meaningless monotony, her spirit was draining away with no lifeline in sight.
Until now. A smile cracked her lips as a plan hoisted itself up from her swirling thoughts, unfurling with a single word.
* * *
Mother Superior did not trouble herself to turn when Julianne, accompanied by Sister Gertrude, knocked on her doorframe and stood waiting for permission to enter. Against the window, the Superior's habit seemed all the darker for the light spilling around her figure and landing in pale gold latticework across this sacred space. The polished crucifix on the wall, the rich embroidery on the kneeler below it, the food and drink on the desk — all of it made the office an oasis within Salpêtrière. Clinging to the edge of it, Julianne felt like a smudge of tarnish on a silver chalice.
Sister Gertrude cleared her throat, and the Superior's head dipped in an unconvincing nod. Her pale hand emerged from the folds of her habit in a gesture so fleeting it could well have been missed.
At Sister Gertrude's touch on the small of Julianne's back, they entered. The smoky scent of cheese braided itself with the spicy steam lifting from the teacup on the desk and cinched a noose around Julianne's empty stomach. But she had not come for hospitality.
"I can help you." The words slipped out quietly and sincerely, but for speaking out of turn, Julianne bit her lip in penance. Sister Gertrude's eyes rounded in her softly lined face.
The Superior looked heavenward. "This, from a supplicant," she murmured, though whether to the saints above or simply to herself, Julianne could not guess. Slowly, the woman turned. "In what way do I need help, and how, pray, could you possibly be in a position to give it?"
"Forgive the intrusion, Mother," interjected Sister Gertrude, her hands swallowed up by her habit, "but we have a proposal for you to consider, which I believe is worth your time."
"In regard to?"
"Your arrangement with John Law for a certain number of girls intended for Louisiana. I believe we have found a favorable solution." Sister Gertrude smiled, and her full cheeks flushed pink.
One eyebrow lifted on the Superior's paper-white face. But her thin lips remained pulled tight.
Julianne looked up, and the strings of her round bonnet tugged beneath her chin. "I volunteer. To be among them."
Now both eyebrows arched high on the Superior's forehead. "My instructions are quite clear. Girls of good moral character only, no exceptions. Taken from the dormitories of the poor. From the orphanages. But you —" Her hand flitted toward Julianne's shorn hair, a clear sign that she was from neither.
Sister Gertrude slipped Julianne a silencing look. Turning to the Superior, the nun smiled again and gave a slight bow of respect. "If I may speak on the inmate's behalf for but a moment. I have known Julianne Chevalier for more than three years, well before she was accused of the crime that brought her here. Before I began serving at Salpêtrière, I was attached to the church at Saint-Côme. As Saint-Côme is dedicated to the martyrs Còme and Damien, patron saints of surgery, the church has a special connection to medicine and to the poor. On the first Monday of every month, all sworn Parisian midwives attend holy services there, and afterwards, tend to the needs of poor pregnant or nursing women who have flocked there for that purpose. Surgeons also give lessons to midwives."
The Superior tilted her head. "I fail to see how this relates to the inmate." Languidly, she brought her teacup to her lips, and wisps of steam curled around her veil. She set the cup back on its saucer without making a sound.
Julianne rolled her lips between her teeth and prayed for favor.
"Mademoiselle Chevalier was there as a midwife's apprentice every month for three years. I watched her work with the poor. She is very good, rumored near the end to be better than the midwife she apprenticed with. I cannot believe she was guilty of the crime that has been assigned her."
Mother Superior looked at Julianne for a long moment, a ridge building between her eyebrows, her mouth gathering to one side. Tenting her fingers, her gaze landed on Julianne's left sleeve as though she could see the fleur-de-lys beneath her grey wool gown. "Nevertheless, the trial is over, and the mark of judgment is for life. You are not what Law had in mind for this shipment."
Julianne studied the lines framing the Superior's eyes and mouth but could not measure just how much condemnation or pity they held. "Surely my character is sufficient for that of a Louisiana colonist."
"Your mark says otherwise."
"Forgive me, but if they are so intent on this large number of girls, will we each be examined upon delivery?" Surely not, if the colonizers were desperate enough for settlers that they now turned to Salpêtrière. The idea that this very desperation, which she was counting on to work in her favor, could also suggest untold hardships ahead — this she blew from her thoughts like chaff. She was resolved to her plan. It was the only avenue to freedom. To Benjamin. "Mother Superior, you are sending girls to Louisiana so that they may find husbands and begin families, yes? My skills do no good in Salpêtrière. But send me with the mothers-to-be, and I can help settle the colony by caring for the well-being of mothers and their babies." Surely she did not need to point out that if the women died, so too would the colony.
"If I may be so bold, Mother, a midwife's skills are vital," Sister Gertrude said.
"Law was clear. He wanted only moral girls. And she is marked."
"He'll never see it. Besides, the Company isn't nearly as particular as they let on. We've given hundreds from our hospital, and they are combing the streets for more."
Mother Superior hesitated, and in that pause, Sister Gertrude grew bolder.
"It is one million livres for Salpêtrière. Think of it! What we could do for souls here with that sum ... but only if we deliver all the girls we agreed to."
"I understood that we found enough already."
"We lost another one."
"Since Tuesday?" The Superior's tone lifted in surprise.
"Catherine Foucault has died. I've just come from HôtelDieu. And Julianne's skills would be quite useful with this shipment in particular, even before they reach Louisiana. I warrant John Law has not thought of taking every precaution for the voyage."
Silence filled the room like water until Julianne felt as though she were drowning in it. She had to escape this place that swallowed up girls and kept madwomen in chains, that let them die and counted it normal. Louisiana was the only way out for Julianne, for the scores of Salpêtrière girls who had no hope of a future here in Paris. And the only way she would ever see her brother again. She dared to whisper, "I will go in Catherine's place. So that you may still fulfill your contract with the Scotsman."
"My child." The Superior's voice was low and tremulous. "You do not know what you are asking."
"Please. Let me help. Allow me to be useful once again."
At length, the Superior nodded. "You leave tomorrow." She crossed herself.
Air seeped back into Julianne's lungs, and with it, a quiet sense of victory. "May I ask — what is particular about this shipment that will require special precautions for the voy —"
But Sister Gertrude ushered Julianne from the chamber before she could finish her question.
Excerpted from The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green. Copyright © 2017 Jocelyn Green. Excerpted by permission of Baker Publishing Group.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Oh, that I were as gifted a wordsmith as Jocelyn Green, to adequately convey the beauty of this novel. Green's many gifts as an author blend together seamlessly into a compelling story rich with meaning. Impeccably researched, this tale brings to light a little known (to me) aspect of the settlement of New Orleans in the early eighteenth century. Authentic and at times heart-wrenching to read, The Mark of the King sweeps the reader across the centuries into the primitive swamp of Louisiana. The harsh realities that Julianne faced broke my heart. A veritable artist with words, Green brings each of the characters to life, and the pages pulse with emotion. Nuggets of truth tucked into the pages add depth and significance to this amazing story. A great start to your 2017 reading list, The Mark of the King is a must-read! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an advanced digital copy of this book free from Baker/Bethany House Publishers and Jocelyn Green. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Julianne Chevalier's life was in shreds. Convicted for a crime that she didn't commit, she was arrested and branded with the mark of the King of France. Forced to marry and travel to Louisianna with orders to help develop a colony resulted in near hopeless conditions. As a midwife she was scrupulous, but loneliness and adversity were her constant companions. Her brand induced recurring horrors. I loved Julianne's character, a strong, capable young woman whose sensitivity and fortitude accompanied her through struggles in a new world where the unknown was a perpetual threat. The numerous other characters throughout the book are well defined and credible as well. Growth in faith and redemption are important aspects. Descriptive elements throughout this book are brilliant, as pictorial as an artist's creation. Ex: "Bright green feathers seemed to sprout from the tips of their branches. Their limbs were hung with pale grey tendrils that swayed in the wind like witches' hair." The author portrays eloquent visions of the most mundane objects. The book flows in a poetic manner. Ex: "Spring rain drove into the ground like arrows, pockmarking the mud and stippling puddles." This detailing is so impressive. I savored every page of this book. Ms. Green has done a great deal of research regarding the historical details throughout this book. Steeped in facts, The Mark of the King is realistic fiction. The documentation and detailing of the subject matter is brilliant! I will be reading this book again. I don't say that about many books, but there are a few that are worthy of experiencing more than once, and this is a winner. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Bethany House with no expectations for a positive review. All expressed opinions are my own.
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. I received a free copy from Bethany House Publishers through the Netgalley review program. All opinions are my own.
This novel is gut wrenching, charming, impressive, exceptional, and poignant. My heart was ripped out twice...I sobbed like a baby! There are some seriously difficult, heavily emotional moments in this book. But, there are also some beautiful, hopeful, and joyful moments that made me smile big time. This book is AMAZING. A story that will invade my dreams, and stick with me LONG after I've finished the book. So well written and SO well researched!!! This is my first novel by this author, but it will not be my last. I highly, highly, highly recommend this book. Make sure you have a big box of tissue next to you as you read. The main characters are exceptionally well written. The emotions illustrated by each character never felt faked or scripted. They each reacted so life-like...so like a man and so like a woman. The struggles and difficulty and pain that each one dealt with felt very real. And, their reliance on their faith was very real too. God is in this book. Faith is here, too. But, it's not done over the top. It's a very realistic portrayal of two faithful people desperately trying their best to be strong in God. I appreciate a non-preachy, non-judgmental, faith-filled novel. A good book all way around!
I was given an advanced reading copy of “The Mark of the King” by Jocelyn Green for an honest review of the book. The Mark of the King is a well written and researched story about the colonization of Louisiana by France in the 1700’s. It delves into the stories of how France sent prisoners to the colony to populate it and tells of the trials and hardships they had to endure, as well as those of the soldiers who were there to protect and expand the land for France. As I have never really studied the history of France or that of America prior to the Revolutionary War, I was quite intrigued by how involved France was with colonizing this part of the world. I understood that we purchased Louisiana from the French but that was really as far as my knowledge went. It was very interesting to see the culture and hardships that were involved with France owning a part of the New World. The story itself was an exciting and fun read; following one female prisoner and the life she made out of necessity in Louisiana. As she strives to make the best life she can in her current circumstance it seems like the world is out to prevent her from doing that. She faces more trials than any one person should have to face. That may just be my 21st century life of “luxury” talking. I have been through some rough times in my life, but nothing compared to what our heroine had to deal with. If you want to get hooked on a story and honestly feel empathy for the main character through everything she endures, this book is for you. It will make you smile and cry! Be prepared for a wonderful story and characters you won’t soon forget!
In The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green, I got a really different perspective on the early settlements in Louisiana. The story starts in France, where Julianne is serving as a midwife with her teacher as her assistant, a delivery that alters Julianne's future. Finding herself imprisoned for murder, she barters her way out of prison and onto a ship headed to Louisiana, in hopes of connecting with her younger brother who went to Louisiana to serve as a soldier. Little does she know when making the deal, but before they leave France, all of the passengers on the ship are forced to chose a mate (a fellow convict) and marry, as they are headed to the colony to help populate it for France. There is no shortage of challenge and heartache along the way for Julianne. Even in escaping France, she is unable to escape the mark of the king that has been etched into her skin...the mark creating issues for her, but also the potential to finally find happiness in the rough environment of the colony. Jocelyn Green does a great job in bringing the story to life. She paints the landscape and environment of the wilds of the Louisiana colony in a way that makes it very vivid in your mind. You really got to know the characters and felt that you were experiencing the challenges and heartaches along with them. Her description of the experience at sea and on land during the hurricane makes the reader feel like they are in the storm with the characters. I highly recommend this book, as I thoroughly enjoyed it and was drawn in on each and every page. The night that I finished the book, I stayed up way later than I should have, because I simply could not put down the book without knowing the outcome and the fate of those characters that I had grown to love. Those 75 pages were read without the realization of just how the time was passing. This is the first book I have read by Jocelyn Green but based on the way that she captured me and pulled me into the story, I look forward to reading more of her historical fiction books. She has four others, also set in the early years of the United States.
The Mark of the King is a historical fiction book by Jocelyn Green. These days I rarely read fiction but when I do I expect it to be inspiring and challenging. I enjoy historical fiction especially when it is clean. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect from Jocelyn Green as this was my first time reading her books. It will not be my last time! The story is about midwife Julianne Chevalier who is imprisoned and branded for the death of a client. She trades her sentence for exile to Louisiana. The journey that she is forced to take is incredible, harsh, and she is ill-equipped at best. She doesn't know the struggles that await her and some of the experiences she faces many would not be able to survive. While she has been exposed to faith in God it is not something that she feels like she knows much about. Although in subtle ways throughout the book you will find that she relies on her strength by the grace of God. This was a beautiful story of being able to overcome insurmountable obstacles and to really find out more about herself and to see how God can bring good from things that are meant to harm us. Everything is redeemable even those marks that we carry that the world can see and hold against us. I have been finished with the book for awhile but like all good books I keep thinking about the characters and the ability to survive the struggles. The human ability to keep adapting to the things around us was strong in this book and it makes me think about my tendency to dismiss the hard things and my natural tendency to want to quit. Then I think of the courage that Julianne exhibited and it makes me want to carry that kind of boldness and courage even when I am afraid of the uncertainties that lie ahead. I think of the shame she carried and that others branded her with and how it was something held against her always and realizing that in no way could she ever overcome it. Still she had to let people close and dismiss that personal risk to find a life worth living. *Received a copy from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review
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 is a wonderful book that uses true historical happenings as the formation of this story. I was sucked in from the first page and didn't want to stop reading until I was finished. This is a book that I would encourage my daughters to read, they would learn of the hardships that our ancestors went through as well as no worries from me whether it is a CLEAN book for them. Jocelyn once again gets a perfect rating from me and will continue to be one of my favorite authors!
This is the first Jocelyn Green book I've read, and I'm sure it won't be the last. This is an incredible work of historical fiction that's set in a time that is often forgotten. Falsely accused and imprisoned as a criminal beyond redemption, Julianne Chevalier grasps her one chance at freedom and a new beginning in the brand new settlement of New Orleans. But... that freedom comes at an unexpected cost: forced marriage to a fellow convict, and a man she's never even met. Once she arrives in Louisiana, nothing is as she had hoped and expected. She's married to a convict and still seen as a criminal. It's truly a struggle to survive (for Julianne, and the fledgling colony). This is certainly not the happiest book I've ever read. Julianne faces seemingly unending injustice, cruelty, and heartbreak. Being a marked criminal in a colony that's struggling to survive is no easy task. However, despite the heartbreak littered throughout this story, I absolutely loved it. Jocelyn has woven and incredibly beautiful, and yet very real tale of life as an early French colonist. I absolutely recommend this book! I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
The Mark of the King is an excellent book. I loved it! It captured my attention from the start. There were plenty of twists and turns to keep me reading! Jocelyn Green does a great job painting a picture of what life was like in Colonel Louisiana. It was tough! I learned some interesting stuff about the settling of New Orleans & the French and Indian war. The Mark of the King is the story of one women's determination to make the best of any situation. I liked Julianne. She is a tough lady who had her struggles and doubts. She is someone the reader can relate too. I like how she weaves historical fact and Biblical truth throughout this story. I think the reader can learn valuable truths along with the character's. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
The Mark of the King is a great read. I just loved this book. I felt a connection to Julianne right from the start. She went through so much turmoil to overcome. The story is unique and refreshing, starting in 1720 France to Colonial Louisiana. It is truly amazing what our ancestors did to survive. This is most definitely a page turner and not one a reader can easily put down. Highly highly recommended. 100 stars.
The Mark of The King is my first read by Author Jocelyn Green, but it sure won't be my last. This book was well worth waiting for and was great right from the first page! I love historical fiction because while I'm enjoying a fantastic read I also learn a lot. This era I didn't know a lot about but through the life of Julianne I lived in the primitive French settlement in New Orleans and saw their lives through each of the characters. There were so many things in this book; loss, love, forgiveness and grace. I mean I could imagine myself being right in the middle of it all with the descriptive words and the emotions I felt while reading. Marc-Paul is now one of my favorite "book heroes". He had such a tender heart but stood strong when needed. He and Julianne extends grace and mercy several times just as our God extends grace and mercy to us when we don't deserve it. This book is a must read for Historical Fiction fans. It will be going on my favorites list because it's one of the best, and also heart touching books I've ever read. I received this book from Bethany House Publishers and was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
The Mark of the King is an amazing novel set in a unique time in early American history. I was completely drawn into this read with the descriptions appealing to all senses putting the reader right into the fledgling French colony. The time, place, and culture are quite unique in historical fiction, and I so loved learning history I'd never encountered before. The circumstances weren't pleasant, the living conditions difficult, and matters of the heart complicated, but with the hope of grace, love and prayer Julianne, the main character, holds on and works for a better colony and life. This is one terrific read that lovers of historical fiction should not miss. Since I was up till 1AM reading this book, I had to give it five stars. "That's what I want...to know His grace and peace, though storms rage and nations fight and food is scarce and France has forgotten us. And though I wear judgment on my very skin." I received this book through the publisher. All opinions are my own.
I've been a fan of this author since reading her gripping first novel, Wedded to War (a Civil War era story). She's written two other novels since then, and all are more than worth your time, but I must say The Mark of the King is her best book yet. This is one of those novels that grabs you on the very first page and refuses to let you go. When forced to put it down, I found myself thinking about the story - and I couldn't wait to find time to read more! The story really moves along and covers some history I've never read about before (the forced colonization - under some pretty horrific conditions - of New Orleans). And the theme of redemption and grace? Well, let's just say it's very satisfying.
"The Mark of the King" by author Jocelyn Green is the story of a woman who has to make hard decisions in her life and has to live through many horrors because of them. When she is left alone more than once in a short time she suffers more than anyone should have to. Would she survive in a strange world. Will she ever find a life that she will be safe with? Is she strong enough? I give this book a 4/5. I was given this book for a review by Litfuse Publicity Group and all opinions are mine.
Trim your fingernails before you read this thrilling story of life in an early French colony in Louisiana. From the first chapter events unfold that create nail biting tension. But, the thread of grace is skillfully woven into this well researched historical novel, adding hope and a future. The author clearly spent a great deal of time in research. I could not wait to finish the book and read the Author’s Note to see which elements were tied to actual events. The characters were well developed and believable, and the action kept me wanting to finish the story. The interweaving evidence of God’s grace made a very satisfying story. Transporting convicts to populate the colonies was a practice I knew little about. Life for early settlers must have been harsh and filled with tension. Life for midwives surely added additional elements of drama. The author paints a vivid picture that is not always beautiful, but true to life. The trials for the new colonists revealed aspects I never imagined. I have read Jocelyn Green novels before and have always enjoyed them. I will look forward to reading her next historical fiction. Write on, Jocelyn. Bethany House provided this novel. I was not required to give a positive review. It is my pleasure to give it 5 stars!
Excellent, Unique Historical Fiction I have my favorite sub-genres within historical fiction, but I also love to find something that is completely different. This novel, set in the very primitive beginning of New Orleans, seemed like it would fit into the “different” category. My expectations were shattered, however, from the very first pages—Jocelyn Green has crafted a novel with a complicated plotline, peopled it with realistic and sympathetic characters, and set it within an remarkable space and time in history. This is one novel that readers of historical fiction should not miss! The historical detail is astounding—I almost feel as if I have taken a college course on the history and settlement of Louisiana. From descriptions of an unrecognizable New Orleans to native populations and how the French military built relationships with them, I learned a lot from this book while reading a fascinating story. Add to that the details of midwifery, and the research to do this novel right must have been extensive, but the author has woven the details into the book to give depth and texture without allowing it to overpower the compelling plot. I think I would classify this novel as a deep, emotional read; there are several instances of heart wrenching loss, almost too much to bear, especially when it happens to the same character. Couple grief with guilt, and Julianne realistically lashes out several times. All of the characters are realistic and endure some trauma, leaving them vulnerable in ways that are true to life and varied. Though I have never experienced such events, I found the characters vivid and well-rounded, enabling me to sympathize with their struggles. The spiritual component is well-written, too. In France, anything other than Catholicism was illegal, so much of the earlier part of the story involves some amount of that, even in prison. The interesting thing, however, is that in New Orleans, many of the traditions fade away and the relationship to God and Jesus becomes more intimate and similar to my own faith. My absolute favorite scene occurs late in the novel. I won’t spoil anything, but I was moved deeply by how the author portrays redemption: that which the enemy would use to shame us is instead a way that God provides hope and healing to another. I love the reminder that our God is amazing! I highly recommend this novel—I cannot recommend it highly enough. The characters will be sticking with me for a long time to come, reminding me of my own need to both receive and extend grace to others. The plot is fast-paced and engaging; the climax held me breathless until I finished the end of the story and just would not let go. Jocelyn Green has earned a place on my keeper shelf and I will be following her writing from now on, as well as searching out her earlier novels. I received a free copy of this book from the author and publisher but no compensation for this review. I was not required to write a favorable one and the opinions expressed are both honest and my own.
Amazing, spectacular, great way to start off the New Year! What a well researched historical novel that is so engrossing that you don't want to put it down but you don't want it to end either. This book has it all....history, intrigue, romance, Faith, and lots of Grace given and received. This is a book that you will want to keep and revisit like an old friend. I loved the characters and how they persevered through such troubling times. The history is rich and leaves you wondering why didn't I know this part of history. The addition of Lily, the spunky little girl, partway through the story tugged my heartstrings. This is such a well written all around wonderful book. This is the first novel I have read by Jocelyn Green but it definitely will not be my last. I received a complimentary copy from the author. The review and opinions are my own and were not required.
Rarely do I encounter such well-researched, beautifully-written, theme-rich historical fiction as The Mark of the King. From the first page, I was riveted to Julianne's story. Chock-full of atmospheric detail, this novel transported me to a place I had never read much about, and even though it brought to light horrors I had never heard of, the entirety of the story was wrapped with the repeated theme of the grace of God. I love books that gently bring timeless truths to life (as opposed to spelling those truths out for us, leaving no room for nuance), and this novel does that. Best of all, it had a combination of factors that made it one of my new favorites: memorable, believable characters, unpredictable twists, and a story that keeps living in my head long after I turn the last page. C'est bon!
My words don't do justice to how beautifully epic this book is! If you like gritty, gorgeous historical fiction that breaks your heart but builds you up at the same time, this book is for you. Stop what you're doing, buy it, and be prepared to go on a journey with amazing characters. I cried and I laughed and I even had to put it down and just pray at one point. Wow.
What can I say about this book - it ranks at the top of the books I have read. I felt bad for Julianne from the start of this book. First she was accused of the death of a client, then forced to marry a convict and has to learn to make a life in a new country. The emotions and the things she went through were not for a week person. I enjoyed the setting of this story and the history behind the colony of Louisiana. The author took her time and did her research so you got all of the details. While reading this book your emotions will be put through the wringer. It is a book that once you start you will not be able to put down. Not only was it entertaining but educational as well. A must read.
This story covers the little-known period of the French founding New Orleans. The history is fascinating and often horrific, and author Green tells this story through the character of Julianne. Julianne's personal story is filled with tragedy, and yet her character shows great perseverance. The author weaves historical details into the text, as well as the difficulties early colonists faced. She does not shy away from difficult facts, including how brutal life in a new colony could be. Native American characters are treated with respect and realism. The multi-faceted issues of the day and how they effected regular people are integral to the story, and the author does a fine job of keeping the plot moving with plenty of action. This book has plenty of heartache and violence, but Julianne learns to cope and even to bloom in spite of her travails. Her compassion and deepening realization of forgiveness and grace are encouraging. Overall, this book is very well-written, and I recommend it to those who enjoy historical fiction. I received this book from the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for my review, but all opinions are my own.
Jocelyn Green has made herself a new fan for life with her book, The Mark of the King. Green's description of the Parisian prison, Salpêtrière, causes the reader to cheer mightily for Julianne's release, only to have hopes dashed as we see the conditions upon which she may depart for Louisiana. Eyebrow-raising, hair-tingling;replete with historical detail of English, French and Indian interactions, we see New France as it really was. Not as the king's regent portrayed it, but as a battleground of intrigue, sabotage, misery and starvation. When drawn with an artist's brush intermingled with hope, faith, and love, what an incredible saga emerges from the pen of Jocelyn Green. This was my first book from her, but I will be adding Jocelyn Green to my all-time favorites. I received a complimentary copy of the book to review from the publisher, but that did not influence my review. My opinions are solely my own.
Wow. What a complex, often heartbreaking tale. Julianne is a young midwife in Paris in 1719 when the unthinkable happens during a client's delivery. Blamed for the death, she is branded with a fleur-de-lys on her shoulder, forever marking her as a criminal, and sent to a women's prison. The circumstances that take her from there to the French colony in New Orleans are based on historical fact. I don't want to give away anything that would spoil the story, but Julianne's life in Louisiana is far from the freedom she had hoped for. Just when things seem to be going a little better, some other tragedy would befall her. Julianne, and other characters as well, struggles with bitterness, the need to forgive, and guilt for past sins. As her faith deepens, she is able to accept that God's grace covers man's judgement. Jocelyn Green's descriptions made me feel as if I was there in the midst of the book with Julianne and opened my eyes to a segment of our country's history I had not been aware of. I highly recommend THE MARK OF THE KING.