"Promised to the Crown" by Aimie K. Runyan was a refreshing historical read. Runyan takes us to Quebec during the 17the Century. First, I loved learning about this time period that I knew so little about! Second, I had no idea that French women; mostly women who were either orphans or in nunneries were called on by the king of France to settle into the new colony in Quebec. Runyan takes us on this intense journey from France to Quebec with Rose, Nicole and Elizabeth. Through the eyes of these three women, we experience their personal struggles and catch a glimpse of what life was like during these very extreme times! Runyan is able to master three very distinct voices. I never felt like the characters were the same and each one had her own very personal story. I can't help but say that Roses story was so heartbreaking for me. I don't want to give too much away, but she had many obstacles to overcome. Despite all the hardship that these three women encounter prior to traveling to Canada and even after, the story felt like a story about survival and hope.
Although this is a historical work at the heart of their journey is true love. Each woman find their different love stories. One of the conditions that the “filles du Roi” had to fulfill is marriage. They were promised to a man and this meant that their life could be happy or miserable since these women were basically all alone in Quebec. They had to contend with harsh conditions and very underdeveloped areas were they could be very isolated if they did get along with their husband. Nicole, Elizabeth and Rose all finally find the men of their dreams, but each one has a very different path.
I hope that this is a time period that gets more attention because there were so many issues touched about: loyalty to the crown, a woman’s place in French society and then in the colonies, the obstacles of establishing life in a new frontier. Finally, and definitely not least, I want to credit Runyan for introducing Manon. She gives us insight into the indigenous of this area and I cannot wait to see what she has in store for her! Next book is out in October 2016, "Duty to the Crown."
**ARC provided by Publisher**