Defying the Crown, Book 1
La Rochelle France, 1661. Fierce Protestant Isabelle is desperate to escape persecution by the Catholic King. Isabelle is tortured and harassed, her people forced to convert to the religion that rules the land. She risks her life by helping her fellow Protestants, which is forbidden by the powers of France. She accepts her fate — until she meets a handsome Catholic soldier who makes her question everything.
She fights off an attack by a nobleman, and the only way to save herself is to flee to the colony of Canada as a Daughter of the King. She can have money, protection and a new life — if she adopts the religion she’s spent a lifetime fighting. She must leave her homeland and the promises of her past. In the wild land of Canada, Isabelle finds that her search for love and faith has just begun
I wake warm, covered in layers of heavy blankets. The glimmer of the fire reflects off the paned window. A faint memory of last night hovers in my mind, the smiling man’s face amid the blurred visions of snowfall. My toes tingle when I wiggle them. My ankles pop when I flex them against the weight of the blanket. My mouth is dry as sand.
I blink and flutter my eyes to focus my vision. My fingers are bright red and prickle like my toes when I move them. Pulling back the layers of satin and wool, I sit at the bedside, my arms locked to hold me up. My head spins and aches. Clean white stockings cover my feet and a white shift far too large for me hangs to my ankles. I reach for the wine on the side table and take a sip. It drenches my parched lips, traveling down my throat in a glorious wave.
The fire cracks and pops as I stand to swollen feet and wobbly knees. Sitting back down on the bed, I bend my knees and ankles to loosen them. Standing again, I lean against the wall. My fat feet slide toward the door. Still struggling to sharpen my mind to the odd feeling of waking up in the echo of an empty chapel room, I open the door dressed only in my nightshirt.
The thick slab of wood creaks open, and I drag myself into the center of a breathtaking stillness. I’ve always lived on the outside. Only glimpsing a church through my imagination. All around me, the structure grows taller and expansive, the rows of columns unfolding in waves of limestone carved to resemble intricate lace.
Cavernous arches surround me, reaching their curves to the heavens. Jeweled stained glass circles crown the columns, letting in a flood of rainbow hues that bounce across the stone. The colored glass bathes the room in light, the color flickers over my hands as I twirl them. My feet slide closer to the altar. The glass windows above bathe the gold panels in cobalt blue.
Here stands a lonely Huguenot in her stocking feet and cotton nightdress under the majestic nave of a Catholic church. The air hisses outside as the storm unleashes on the town and I stand in the quiet. In a place intended for priests and monks and those upon whom God bestows grace. The sound of only my small body moving across the marble floor breaks the silence of the hollow stone church, facing the altar where countless people have taken communion.
It seems it would only take a few steps and word of commitment to wash away everything I am. With nothing left, perhaps a change of heart could change my fate.
Thank you, Kerry Chaput and The Coffee Pot Book Club
About the Author
Born in California wine country, Kerry Chaput began writing shortly after earning her Doctorate degree. Her love of storytelling began with a food blog and developed over the years to writing historical fiction novels. Raised by a teacher of US history, she has always been fascinated by tales from our past and is forever intrigued by the untold stories of brave women. She lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon with her husband, two daughters, and two rescue pups. She can often be found on hiking trails or in coffee shops.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Kerry-Chaput/e/B08123S61Z
Read for free with #KindleUnlimited subscription.
Universal Link: Universal Buy Link: https://books2read.com/u/3nE9ze