Book Review: Daughter of the King
Daughter of the King
Black Rose Writing, December 2021
There is something you should know about me. I am a major fan of historical fiction. This may be because I spent most of my college life studying history, as I worked toward an undergrad in the subject and then attempted a graduate degree. Or, it could be because I've always been a little obsessed with the past. Classic overthinker. Whatever the reason, I read more historical fiction than anything else and my bookshelves prove that. It should come as no surprise, then, that I read Kerry Chaput's thrilling debut, Daughter of the King. I didn't read it as much as I devoured it. Fiction lovers know what I mean, right?
The year is 1661 and La Rochelle France is a powder keg of unrest, as the Catholics of the region are trying to convert or eradicate the protestant population. Isabelle Colette and her mother live inside La Rochelle, doing their best to stay under the radar of those who wish them harm, even when former friends threaten to throw them to the proverbial wolves. As tensions mount, Isabelle meets a young, Catholic officer and falls in love. He can accept her despite her faith and his sworn duty to the king. It isn't long after that La Rochelle becomes the scene of a massacre and Isabelle must flee her home with her mother. It is only with the help of her young officer that Isabelle and her mother escape, both rushing into an unknown future that must be better than life in La Rochelle. Isabelle will come to learn, as many do, that persecution follows and endings are only as happy as you make them.
After settling into an uneasy existence in a new town, Isabelle is once again on the run, fleeing before she can be punished for something unavoidable. However, through her new connections, she is presented with an opportunity she never expected. She will be a Fille du Roi, a daughter of the king. Setting sail for the new world, she has a responsibility to select a husband and help populate this new land, but the future has other plans for Isabelle and she is ready to do what she must to see them through.
I read an advanced copy of this book. I promised the author that I would give my honest opinion, so here it is.
Daughter of the King is the most exciting piece of historical fiction I've ever read. So often this genre can be somber and slow, but Chaput grabs the reader from the first pages and pulls them along at a breakneck pace until its conclusion. There is hope, because what is a story without a bit of hope, and there are moments that make the reader cringe, draw up into themselves, and think, I'm glad that's never happened to me. There are passages that make the reader cry out in frustration because Isabelle is making the wrong decision and they know it, but Chaput shows us these mistakes are human and must be made.
It's a story with feeling and hope and history, what fan of historical fiction doesn't love that?
Daughter of the King gets 5 stars from me. Honestly, if I could give it more, I absolutely would.