Daughter of the King by Kerry Chaput follows French Huguenot (Protestant) Isabelle Collete as she continually fights for survival in a Catholic country. Opening in La Rochelle, France in 1661, Isabelle and her mother are all that remain of their family. Huguenots are being persecuted, tortured, and killed in the streets. Everyday, Isabelle walks the fine line between life and death.
Events come to a head when the Catholics order the eradication of the Huguenots. With the help of former Huguenot turned Catholic soldier, the dashing James, Isabelle and her mother escape to Rouen.
For the next few years, Isabelle is in survival mode–hiding in plain sight as a servant in the home of a wealthy Catholic family. Nearly killing a powerful man in self-defense, Isabelle is offered the opportunity to become a filles du roi – marriageable women of varying social standings and backgrounds who were supplied with a dowry and passage to New France by the King to (quite literally) grow French presence in Canada. New France offers Isabelle the opportunity to truly come into her own and unapologetically be herself.
I found Daughter of the King to be very engaging, always moving with no filler, and having that “couldn’t put down-ness” quality. That said, there were times when some of the dialogue was clunky and awkward (and by extension, some character actions.) What’s more, a character from the beginning of the book turns up later in New France and acts completely different in a way I never fully bought. In turn, the way Isabelle views him is also not entirely believable within the already established context.
The book ends on what I would consider a cliff-hanger. There were several loose ends that had not been addressed or tied up, so I’m assuming the author plans to write a sequel (maybe this was intended to be a series?)
Daughter of the King is a fun ride with great historical details, and a plot that always has you guessing what will happen next.