Book Review (and Two Giveaways!): Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Posted May 30, 2016 by meezcarrie in Carrie Fancett Pagels, Christian, giveaway, historical, romance / 90 Comments



about the book

saving the marquise's granddaughterIn a land fraught with religious strife, they must break the barriers between status and faith to forge a fresh future in a new world… After her Huguenot father is arrested, aristocrat Suzanne Richelieu escapes Versailles. Handsome German peasant, Johan Rousch, risks his life to bring her to the safety of his family’s farm in the Palatinate duchy, but when Suzanne’s brother and the French army arrive with a warning that they plan to burn the area, she and Johan are forced to flee. With no money or options, both become indentured servants in exchange for safe passage to Philadelphia. Suzanne falls gravely ill aboard ship and marries Johan, only to survive with no memory of the wedding—a reality made worse when Johan spots the “priest” who married them working as a surveyor and later in Quaker cleric garb. Are their wedding vows valid? When Suzanne’s former fiancé arrives in port, planning to abduct her, Johan must save her again—but can he do so before Suzanne is lost to him forever?

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Purchase your copy of Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter here.

GENRE: Historical Romance, Christian
PUBLISHER: Pelican Book Group
RELEASE DATE: June 1, 2016
PAGES: 272

A Note From Carrie Fancett Pagels

Hi, I’m Carrie Fancett Pagels, so excited to see this particular book “baby”, Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter, finally being “born!” I started working on this over eight years ago!

Roush-book-1-150x150Would you believe it was a genealogical search that began this story? We had a lot of research on my father’s side of the family but not on my mother’s. Sites like were getting big. One of my mother’s cousins posted the genealogy that he’d found, on one of the genealogy sharing sites and I got that information but only back to where I found two Rousch cousins marrying. I honestly didn’t want to go on after that, as it appeared they were first cousins – yikes! But after praying about it, and knowing my mom was curious, too, I went forward.

While I am interested in genealogy, as a former psychologist, I’m more interested in people’s stories.  So when I discovered that the two cousins were the grandchildren of Johan Adam Rousch, who had been acknowledged colonial-Patriot-marchers-DSCN4653-150x150because nine of his ten sons had fought in the American Revolution, I wanted to know more about him and his family and ancestors.  Since there were books already written about him, I went up to the University of Virginia Rare Books Library and read what people had to say about the real life Johan. He sounded fascinating. He was an immigrant from the Palatinate of Germany and lived in the western part of Virginia, after immigrating via Pennsylvania.

I had joined the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) group and had been working on a novel set in the Charleston, South Carolina area, where I’d previously lived. I got so interested in Johan and his story that I began to write. But I couldn’t wrap my mind around Susanna, his real life wife who likely also came from the Palatinate, possibly on the same ship. No matter how I tried to work on her, through various writing classes I took, I couldn’t make her “real” because she just wasn’t speaking to me. I tried and I have the old scenes to prove it!

rousch-monument-150x150When I write, I pray. I asked God to show me scriptures for each scene, which were included on my rough drafts (they are not there in the final novel.) I did some research, at the library, and a massive tome about the Hundred Years War was recommended to me and one on European History from that time frame. By learning of some of the reasons the Palatinate was persecuted, such as the French punishing them for taking in Protestants, I began to imagine a different sort of heroine for my story. Of course, although the story was inspired by Johan and Susanna, this book is fictional. That freed me up for God to inspire me to make this story about faith. A core tenet of the book is that we must find our own faith – we cannot “borrow” it from someone else!

Since I was still practicing as a psychologist, as I developed Suzanne’s character I included traits that would be common in someone in the situation she was in. She’s living in an aristocratic French family, with parents who are actually of the Huguenot faith. If they are discovered there can be drastic consequences, including death. So a young lady like that may become more obsessive and compulsive as a way of dealing with that anxiety.

I hope those who read this story will be inspired by the message of overcoming and of finding one’s own path to faith in the Lord!!!

my thoughts

Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter had me on the edge of my seat almost from word one, and I’m not sure I relaxed until I reached the author’s notes at the end. Twists and turns, danger, intrigue, romance, faith, history – Carrie Fancett Pagels has seamlessly woven a little bit of everything into this fascinating story. I’m also something of a family history buff (passed on to me from my grandfather and his sister Lucy, whom I take after) so the book became even more fascinating to me when I learned it was loosely based on Carrie’s ancestry.

On a side note (and then I’ll get back to the review, I promise), this is the second book I’ve read lately that’s had something to do with researching genealogy and family stories. The first was Suzanne Woods Fisher’s The Quieting. I have found that discovering where you came from – the history that has shaped you – can give you a clearer picture of why you’re here and where you’re headed. When I started researching my own ancestry, I discovered that I come from a long line of church planters (Methodist, Baptist, Anglican, etc.).  The day I stood in the very first – the inaugural – service of the church plant we attend, I felt this sense of connection with all the church planters in my family tree. It was really special and something I will long remember 🙂

Saving the Marquise's Granddaughter Book ReviewAnyway, back to Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter! Suzanne’s story is tragic and yet full of moments of hope despite the sorrow. Religious persecution, religious confusion, family tragedies … not to mention running for her life while grieving phenomenal losses. And then she meets Johan, who is a giant sleepwalking teddy bear of a German. Full of joy but faithful with the weighty responsibilities he’s been given. In fact, most of the characters in the book are multi-dimensional like this, adding texture to the story and making their personalities come to life on the pages.

Johan rescues Suzanne several different times over the course of the book, in many different capacities. First on a mission from his uncle, then as her friend, then as the man who loves her fiercely, then as her husband. And yet, the greatest rescue in the book comes not from Johan but from the One who had been pursuing Suzanne all along. Jesus, the Shepherd, the One who gently taught her that her faith had to become her own. Not her grandmother’s. Not her parents’. Not her newfound friends’. Hers. Suzanne’s. An important lesson during that time of religious persecution and an important truth for us to embrace today as well.

Bottom Line: Friendship, faith, courage, and love blend with intrigue, adventure, and history to create a story that will captivate you from the first page to the last.  Carrie Fancett Pagels has done her research, and it’s evident in the attention to detail, language, and setting. But none of those elements border on tedium; instead, they act as a fascinating backdrop for a period in history during which brave men and women carved a path for us to follow.  Suzanne and Johan leap off the page and into your heart, and if you’re like me, you want more! So, Carrie, consider this your plea to make this into a series!! I mean… we have the same first name…. that should give me a little bit of bargaining leverage, right? 😉

(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)

My Rating: 4.5 stars / Loved it!

KissingBook Level: 4 / Keep that fan and fainting couch handy as the story progresses!

Purchase your copy of Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter here.

about the author

carrie fancett pagels

Carrie Fancett Pagels is a multi-published award-winning author of Christian historical romance.  Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination! She resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia, which is perfect for her love of history. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time!

website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Other Books By Carrie Fancett Pagels

giveaway RIMSP

I’ve got TWO giveaway opportunities for you!

Giveaway #1


To celebrate her tour, Carrie is giving away a Kindle Fire 7, one signed copy of Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter along with Postcard & bookmark and Fleur de Lis Earrings.

Click here to view this promotion.

Giveaway #2

Carrie has also graciously offered an ebook copy of Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter to one of my readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What about you? Has knowing your family history inspired you in your present?

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90 responses to “Book Review (and Two Giveaways!): Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter by Carrie Fancett Pagels

  1. Susan

    This book has been on my want to read list for months.

    On another notem my daughter has started researching our family tree Hope to make this a joint this sumner.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win.

  2. Cara

    This story looks awesome! Definitely putting it on my TBR! Love it when I find a new author I am excited about.

    • Oops! I always do this….regarding my family history YES! I am part Native… Enough to have a tribal card before they didnaway with the blood count…And I take great pride in my tribe (the Potawatomi)…even if I look more Irish hehe

  3. Thanks so much for this wonderful review, Carrie! I love how you really understand the spiritual arc for Suzanne, in this book. Her “Come to Jesus” moment was written, re-written, and I had critique partners help and I even won a critique for MaryLu Tyndall that I used on that particular ship scene. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Looking forward to meeting you in person in August!!!

    • Carrie

      That scene was so powerful & meaningful! Well-done, Carrie! And yes! Cannot wait to meet you in August 🙂

  4. Sylvia M.

    Since I haven’t really studied my family history that much, I cannot say that it has inspired my present. I do have an ancestor that came over on the Mayflower. Also, another ancestor of mine was the man who resumed the translation of the New Testament after the death of Tyndale.

    This book sounds really interesting!


  5. Connie Scruggs

    I can’t believe I’ve never heard of Carrie Fancy Pagels! This book sounds fantastic! Definitely on the TBR list!

    • CONNIE, Glad to meet you! LOL about Fancy, they used to tease me with that name when I was a teen. It is Fancett but I’m betting autocorrect got you on that! Hope you’ll enjoy my books! Blessings!

  6. Marylin Furumasu

    Carrie Fancett Pagels is a new author to me. This should be fun. Any new authors are Christmas to me!?

  7. I don’t know a whole lot about my family history (at least not very far back), but I do know a quite a bit about my maternal grandmother and her background from writing a paper about her and her life when I was in high school. I loved interviewing her and getting to hear stories of her growing up and her parents and siblings. It was a very special thing.

  8. Andrea Stephens

    This sounds like a book I will read over and over.
    Thanks for sharing a bit of how you went about writing this book. I often find that I like the story more if I know a bit of where it came from.

  9. Andrea Stephens

    To answer the question about knowing my family history, it’s something I’ve always know a lot about. My grandfather was born in 1894, my mom was his 11th child, I remember stories being told at family gatherings. My mom has always been interested in family history and has told me many stories of the things older family members told her when she was younger. I think knowing the struggles the family came from, it has made me appreciate what I have and helped me get through my own struggles. One of my cousins recently spent a couple of years researching all the stories and putting it up on Ancestry.

      • Andrea Stephens

        Actually 12 children. My grandfather’s first wife died after the birth of her 5th child. He married my grandmother 3 years later, she was considered a spinster at the time, (she was 30) they went on to have 7 more living children. His first child was born in 1913 his 12th child was born in 1950. They interviewed him on the radio when his youngest was graduating high school. He had a child in the school system every year for 50 years!

        • That is really cool, Andrea! My great-great-grandfather Williams had fourteen children. I’m not sure how far they were apart but I know some could have served in the Civil War, from his first wife. You make me not feel so bad about us having a child in the school system from 1994 until 2020, other than the year I homeschooled — seems like small change compared to 50 years worth!

          • Andrea Stephens

            My mom and I were discussing this yesterday on the phone. She was talking about her father’s great great grandfather fighting in the Revolutionary War. Then discussing all the children each of the family members had. I made the sarcastic comment that maybe they just liked making babies. She laughed.

  10. Bonnie Roof

    Such a beautiful review, Carrie – thank you!! I think ‘Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter’ may be Carrie Fancett Pagel’s crowning writing achievement.

    I love novels based on real people and love the genealogy research my brother has done on our family. Not much is known about my father’s side of the family, however, a couple of interesting facts are that my paternal grandfather drove a huckster wagon from our small town to Louisville, Ky. and back (a short distance now but not when he was young), and my father’s first cousin spent his life as a missionary to the Seminole in Florida.

    My maternal grandmother’s family descended from the “fighting” McGregor’s of Scotland, one of my paternal grandfather’s ancestors owned an inn in the historic St. Mary’s City (Maryland’s first capitol) which he helped found, another was a white Shawnee war chief.

    The “Blue Jacket” story of Marmaduke vanSwearingen, who was captured by the Shawnee, was featured in an outdoor drama in Lima, Ohio for 20 years. Although there has been a recent dispute by some people who feel “Blue Jacket” was not a white man.

    St. Mary’s City is a tourist site which has been under excavation since 1971, with 7 million recovered artifacts from the 17th century on. 17th century tidewater landscapes are dominated by the St. Mary’s River, early ship replicas, and surrounded by forest and field. They include plants brought over by Colonists, plants cultivated by the American Indians, and native plants that may have been wild collected.

  11. emilee douglas

    My grandma loves to talk about her family history and show me pictures. I’m glad she is still with us. She is my only surviving grandparent. I guess it inspires me in some ways. I’m looking forward to another great read. Thanks!

  12. Debbie Clatterbuck

    I have been trying to find more about my family for some time now. I believe I have found my grandmother on my mother’s side’s family and their name was shortened after coming to America. There is even a book about them, but I have hit a wall with my dad’s side of the family. I will keep trying though. Can’t wait to read Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter.

  13. I love historical romances, and find them even more interesting when based on real people, so my interest was piqued by Carrie’s description, but “giant sleep walking teddy bear of a German?” That was the clincher for me 😀

  14. Bethany

    Absolutely. Family is such a big piece of our lives. How amazing that God strategically placed each of us and in this time in history. I loved learning about Carrie Fancett Pagels’ pursuit of her genealogy and the incredible finds she uncovered. Thank you both for sharing.

  15. Lynne M Feuerstein

    The more I hear about this story the more interested I become! I especially like the moral of finding your own way to God in the end I think we all do. As for the blog question I’m very inspired by my family history. One of them being my Grandmother who raised four children (including my father)during the Depression after my grandfather died of pneumonia. With the help of her parents who came to help,she was determined to keep her family together and work the farm they lived on. I admire her determination to keep the family and the faith in God I was told she had despite the tragedy in her life. Thanks to both Carrie’s for this entertaining post!

  16. I enjoy learning about my family history. My great aunt researched my Dad’s side of the family and had it bound in book form for everyone in the family. It was interesting to find out that the spelling of my Grandmother’s last name was changed when they moved to the US. Looking forward to reading the book.

  17. Carla Moore

    I think about my family history alot. I’ve researched family tree an all side it has helped to mold me into who I am today.

  18. I have already put this book on my TBR list! I am going to be so excited to read it. I think I am going to have to wait until I have two days in a row so I can read it all at once! I have a rich heritage myself, and I am sure that if I really dug deep into my German roots I would find some very interesting facts. My husband and I are planning on taking a month and purchasing for a month of deep research sometime this summer or fall. Heritage is important because I understand better who shaped my and those that came before. I know the majority of my ancestors are Christian and I am so thankful for that. Thank you, Carrie for this story. I am going to devour every page!

    • Hey Petra! I was delighted to read that the real Johan Adam Rousch was a German Lutheran church planter, helping to build churches both in Pennsylvania and Virginia. I had my DNA done and now I am dying to know where that Italian or Greek genealogy comes from! I have a small percentage of that but no knowledge of where that is from.

  19. Tina Rice

    Carrie, enjoyed your review.

    Congratulations on your release Carrie! I love that it is based on your family and enjoyed reading of your research into your family’s genealogy.

    I have done some research on my own family history and hope to get back to it soon.

    I am not entering the contest as I have read the book, and loved it.

  20. Cheryl Baranski

    Wonderful review and blog post Carrie. I so enjoyed reading this book of Carrie’s.

  21. Amy Fields

    It really has impacted my present. I was adopted and after finding my biological family it really changed the way I do some things and how I see the world. I can’t wait to read the book!

  22. Brenda Murphree

    I want to read this book. It is on my to buy list.
    I love to learn about my ancestors. I am following some of my ancestors in my beliefs. But I have learned for myself that it is true what I was taught.

  23. Rachel Stark

    Great review! I have not read this author before and now look forward to reading this! 🙂 I loved your description of “Johan, who is a giant sleepwalking teddy bear of a German”. My husband has some German in his heritage and embraces it, so I feel like I have a little bit of that big teddy bear of a German myself. 😀

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