The Mark of the King By Jocelyn Green

History is among my favorite subjects; therefore historical fiction is at the top of my genre list. This book is exceptional! I never knew what a rich beginning Louisiana had. In fact, I knew very little about its beginning as a settlement. The deprivation, cruelty, and hardship of those first brave settlers shocked me. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I learned. Ms. Green weaves the historic facts and life in that era, seamlessly with her characters and their experiences.
The story begins in 1719 in Paris, France. Julianne Chevelier is a midwife and though young very skilled. An older midwife once her teacher is placed under her for the delivery of a wealthy patient which conjures up jealousy. When the mother and child die in childbirth the old midwife accuses her of murder and she is sent to prison. Julianne receives a tattoo of the Fleur de lis, which will brand her for life as a murderer. Instead of being imprisoned for life, she manages to be sent to the settlement of New Orleans. They are in great need of more people to work and establish the area. What she was hoping in the promise of new found freedom turned out to be difficulties, injustice and suffering beyond what she ever imagined.
She is forced to marry another convict and consummate their marriage in barn before leaving. She found her and the other prisoners were being sent simply to populate the colony. The details not only of their voyage to America but the beginning of their new life in Louisiana were graphic and dreadful. Lacking in supplies, food, building materials the new arrivals were expected to make a home with nothing. They lived more like animals than people, while the military was comfortable and lacked nothing. To make matters worse there were Indian wars not only with the French but also between tribes. It was a dangerous situation.
Marc-Paul Girard is a respected soldier of the King of France. Unlike the others he had character and a strong faith in God. After the death of Julianne’s husband, Marc-Paul tries to protect and help her. Romance very slowly blooms but the path it follows is not a flowery one. Instead of infatuation theirs is based on character, trust, courage and strong faith. This book will surprise, astonish, and entertain you in the very best of ways!
I was provided a review copy of this book by Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Treasures in Dark Places By Leanna Cinquanta

I couldn’t wait to read this book! I hate child trafficking and love to read about rescues and the new lives they receive. The first chapter started off with a bang! I devoured it as my interest was strong and couldn’t wait to read more. Then that was it. I was so disappointed. It wasn’t until the end of the book once again a part was told of one girl’s story that ended in suicide.
Very little of the book is about these precious little souls. The majority of it is about the author’s childhood, and life leading her to her ministry. Not what I was hoping to read. I could understand her sharing her testimony, but to make it the focus of the book made for me, the title misleading.
She also jumped around a lot about visions and dreams she had as she was being led into her life service. I am a Christian but this type of supernatural events made me feel uncomfortable. This book is definitely not what I was expecting.
I was provided a review copy of this book by Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Elusive Miss Ellison By Carolyn Miller

Ms. Miller is one of my new “want to read and look forward to new books” authors.
If you like the writings of Jane Austin, you will love this book! It is 1843, the Victorian Era but the setting is in small village in England instead of a big city.
Lavinia Ellsion is the minister’s daughter. She lives with her father and her Aunt Patience who came to live with them after her mother’s tragic death. She steps to the beat of a different drummer than her friends. She casts aside the fluff of dress and stuffy conduct that her peers dote on. She thinks nothing of working in the garden without a hat or taking walks alone in the country. Both are big social faux pas for a young woman of that era. Her concerns are more with helping the needy and the poor.
The village is all a twitter with the coming of the new Earl of Hawkesbury, Nicholas. All the mothers are preening their daughters in hopes of making him their new son-in-law. Lavinia has no interest in finding a husband. Her concerns are more that the new earl does more to care for the poor and alleviate their suffering, one of his duties that came with the position. Nicholas is prideful, arrogant and selfish. He loathes the new job forced upon him by his social position.
No two people could be more opposites!
Lavinia is disgusted by his smugness and haughtiness. I found it amusing that she had the same attitude but hers came from her religious and strong sense of duty to the destitute, whereas his came from his sense of entitlement and no sense of duty to the people.
You can imagine the strong personality clashes as they are thrown together in many situations. We never know what circumstances life might throw our way or who will enter in that will challenge and change us. Such was the case with Lavinia and Nicholas. Tragedy opens the doors to their hearts and minds that would have otherwise stayed closed. Even as love blossoms, their Lavinia’s strong personality and stubbornness consistently sprouts misunderstandings and hurt.
A beautiful love story filled with surprises. I had no idea that earls had any more to do than have their titles and be rich. It was fascinating to learn about the operations and expectations in a small village during that era. I so enjoyed the book and look forward to the next one.
I was provided a review copy of this book set by Kregel Publications, with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.