• Promised to the Crown

  • Daughters of New France Series, Book 1
  • By: Aimie K. Runyan
  • Narrated by: Esther Wane
  • Length: 11 hrs and 47 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (49 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2016 Aimie K. Runyan (P)2018 Tantor

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Historical Fiction

Trigger Warning
There is a scene in the beginning when the young teen girl is repeatedly raped by her uncle. It's not described in great detail, but it greatly affected me and I almost stopped listening to this audiobook.
But, thankfully, I was able to get past this scene, although it is referred to throughout the book!

Besides this assault, the book is an incredible tale of several young women who come from various walks of life in France. Their friendship ties them together as they serve the King of France by becoming wives for the settlers of Canada's New France. The stories are filled with hardships and struggles, joys and hope! The author weaves these amazing tales together so flawlessly that it's like reading their diaries!

The narrator was perfect! Getting the emotions of the various characters as they suffer and rejoice, fight, and heal!

There is romance, but I believe the women's strength and fortitude is the main focus of this story! Their friendships and their marriages are the backbone of their success in this colonial life!
I loved it!

5 people found this helpful

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Disapointing

I’m 80% done with this book and I sincerely doubt there is anything between this point and the end of the story that will change my opinion.

What drew me to this book was the idea of reading about “Les Filles du Roi”. I learned all about it in school of course, due to the fact that I live in Quebec, but I thought a historical novel set in those times would paint a more emotional or personal picture of what it was like. More about the social conditions and less about the general politics.

For me, the book did not deliver. The setting felt like a mere detail. These people could have settled in wilds of Norway… or on Mars! and the storylines could be the same except for very few “anchoring details”.

What perplexed me the most about this book was the choice of narration. The book is about French people settling in Quebec – so we know everyone speaks French fluently and we can conclude there is no language barrier…. So WHY ON EARTH are the characters speaking with farcical accents? It’s distracting… there was no need for accents or inflections or deliberately miss-pronounced words. Frankly, it drove me nuts.

So why read the book? Well, I suppose if you approach it as a saga and grow to like the characters you will be genuinely interested in what happens to them, and would be please to read more in Book 2; but I’m not.

I’ll finish Book 1 but that’s it.

5 people found this helpful