In Aimie K.Runyon’s debut novel we explore a fairly unknown area of history that is both unique and inspiring. I am so pleased to be able to take part in the blog tour for this book.
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.
Runyon does an excellent job of setting up the fact that these women truly had no other options. From Rose who has to choose either an unknown life across the sea or a life at the convent that she was placed in to Elisabeth can either choose a suitor in the new world or marry. During that first part of the book I felt the terrible situations that these women were stuck in. I grew quite angry over their situations!
What won me over was that the story went beyond your standard “Happy Ending.” Our story doesn’t end when the women get to New France and pick their husbands. We follow them through their ups and downs as they work to settle this wild land. From business failures to devastating miscarriages (about time a book deals with infertility!), we follow them through all of it. Making the characters relateable and the history come alive