Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Paperback & eBook; 352 Pages
Series: Daughters of New France
Genre: Historical Fiction
Bound for a new continent, and a new beginning.
In her illuminating debut novel, Aimie K. Runyan masterfully blends fact and fiction to explore the founding of New France through the experiences of three young women who, in 1667, answer Louis XIV’s call and journey to the Canadian colony.
They are known as the filles du roi, or “King’s Daughters”—young women who leave prosperous France for an uncertain future across the Atlantic. Their duty is to marry and bring forth a new generation of loyal citizens. Each prospective bride has her reason for leaving—poverty, family rejection, a broken engagement. Despite their different backgrounds, Rose, Nicole, and Elisabeth all believe that marriage to a stranger is their best, perhaps only, chance of happiness.
Once in Quebec, Elisabeth quickly accepts baker Gilbert Beaumont, who wants a business partner as well as a wife. Nicole, a farmer’s daughter from Rouen, marries a charming officer who promises comfort and security. Scarred by her traumatic past, Rose decides to take holy vows rather than marry. Yet no matter how carefully she chooses, each will be tested by hardship and heartbreaking loss—and sustained by the strength found in their uncommon friendship, and the precarious freedom offered by their new home.
“An engaging, engrossing debut.”—Greer Macallister, USA Today bestselling author of The Magician’s Lie
“An absorbing adventure with heart.”—Jennifer Laam, author of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar
I adore fiction that teaches me something while it sweeps me into a story. Aimie K. Runyan’s beautifully written debut Promised to the Crown is one such novel. Before reading this poignant story, I didn’t know about the Filles du Roi of the 17th Century – women who sailed from France for Canada (New France), commissioned by the King (along with a dowry) to marry the settlers and begin populating the territory for the good of France. These women were brave and strong of spirit, despite the reasons that precipitated their enrollment in this program. Perhaps it was those very reasons that made them brave and strong of spirit, or perhaps the harsh journey and the sometimes treacherous territory of New France stirred up the courage and strength already buried deep within them. Whatever the case, I want to learn more about the “real life” Filles du Roi and about this part of history that we didn’t study down here in lower North America.
But Promised to the Crown is so much more than an intriguing look at history. It follows three women as they forge a lasting friendship with each other, one that begins on their journey across the ocean and endures long after they arrive in New France. The glimpses into their backstories, each varied and tragic in their own way, enhance the poignancy of their present circumstances and make their quests for happiness all the richer.
Rose, Elisabeth, and Nicole – three distinct women, three distinct narratives, three intertwined stories. My favorite was perhaps Elisabeth. Though her story at times was the most heartbreaking to read, she also was the character who consistently displayed the most strength. Her relationship with Gilbert, in my opinion, was the healthiest and most authentically loving out of the three friends. She also knew her worth – not only as a woman but as a businesswoman – and I thoroughly enjoyed watching she and Gilbert build their business as well as their relationship together.
Bottom Line: Rich with intriguing history, vivid characters, and a captivating style, Promised to the Crown is a stellar debut for Aimie K. Runyan. Readers will invest in Rose, Elisabeth and Nicole, rooting for them and crying for them and hoping for them. In parts both romantic and tragic, Promised to the Crown always carries an air of poignancy that engages and inspires. A novel which will cause every woman’s heart to swell in pride, solidarity, and gratitude for those who forged the path ahead of us.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
My Rating: 4 stars / Enjoyed it!
Reviewer’s Note: This is a general market novel, not the typical Christian fiction which I review here. As such, there is a bit of “general market languge”, though it’s very minor and sporadic.
Aimie K. Runyan, member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Women’s Fiction Writers Association, has been an avid student of French and Francophone Studies for more than fifteen years. While working on her Master’s thesis on the brave women who helped found French Canada, she was fortunate enough to win a generous grant from the Quebec government to study onsite for three months which enabled the detailed research necessary for her work. Aimie lives in Colorado with her husband and two children.
Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, April 26
Review at Historical Fiction Addicts
Wednesday, April 27
Review at Let Them Read Books
Friday, April 29
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Saturday, April 30
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Monday, May 2
Review at A Book Drunkard
Tuesday, May 3
Review at Seize the Words: Books in Review
Thursday, May 5
Review at Reading Is My SuperPower
Friday, May 6
Review at Puddletown Reviews
Monday, May 9
Review at Cynthia Robertson, writer
Tuesday, May 10
Review at A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, May 11
Review at Creating Herstory
Monday, May 16
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Tuesday, May 17
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Thursday, May 19
Interview at The Book Connection
Monday, May 23
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Tuesday, May 24
Review at A Holland Reads
Wednesday, May 25
Review at Curling up by the Fire
Thursday, May 26
Review at Just One More Chapter
Friday, May 27
Review at Bookramblings
Monday, May 30
Review at Broken Teepee
Tuesday, May 31
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Two copies of Promised to the Crown by Aimie K. Runyan are up for grabs! To enter, please use the GLEAM form below.
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