Power and Prejudice: France, 1562. War sparks between the Catholics and Huguenots, dividing neighbors, friends, and family—meanwhile, nineteen-year-old Minou Joubert receives an anonymous letter at her father’s bookshop. Sealed with a distinctive family crest, it contains just five words: She knows that you live.
Love and Betrayal: Before Minou can decipher the mysterious message, she meets a young Huguenot convert, Piet Reydon. Piet has a dangerous task of his own, and he will need Minou’s help if he is to stay alive. Soon, they find themselves on opposing sides, as forces beyond their control threaten to tear them apart.
Honor and Treachery: As the religious divide deepens, Minou and Piet find themselves trapped in Toulouse, facing new dangers as tensions ignite across the city—and a feud that will burn across generations begins to blaze. . .
Review of The Burning Chambers
<b>The Burning Chambers</b> is a deep dive into historical France, portraying the conflicts between Catholics and Protestants, sometimes in painful details.
Warning – the book starts off with a torture scene. However, the scene is brief and you are quickly swept into 1562 France. At the time, protestants were persecuted despite the crown’s decree that they be left alone. The history is tightly interwoven into the story of fictional characters Minou Joubert, Catholic though raised to be tolerant by her bookstore owner father and Piet Reydon, Protestant and a player in the resistance. The story does also incorporate some true historical characters to give the saga of Minou and Piet and authentic air.
When I started it, I was a bit put off by all the history. I suppose I was not in the mood for a lesson. But soon, I was caught up with Minou and Piet. Minou’s father has become withdrawn and rarely goes out. So Minou must become the family provider, running the bookshop. One day, on her way to the shop, she comes across Piet.
Piet is busy raising funds for the Protestants of Toulouse so they can build a church. When Minou and Piet meet, there is quiet attraction of strangers. Though they part with only a few words between them, fate will bring them together in Toulouse.
The book opens with historical notes about the religious wars. A list of principal characters is also included and is a nice reference.
The prologue takes place in 1862. I assumed the story would eventually get back to the characters in the prologue, but that did not happen. I believe the prologue storyline is meant to tie the books in the series together but the connection to the main story is not at all apparent.
The plot is just complex enough to keep the pages turning, but not so complex that the reader loses track of who is up to what. There are many players and many plotters. Piet and Minou are in the middle of it all. The ways all the characters are connected are revealed through many plot twists, much drama, happiness, tears, danger and adventures.
Through Netgalley, the publisher provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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