In The Shadow Of The Sun King, the first book in the Darkness To Light Series, made a deep impression on me when I read it in 2013. For a while, I had the rest of the trilogy in my “To Be Read” pile. Just this year, I read the second book in the series, A Prisoner Of Versailles, and found the writing of Golden Keyes Parsons just as deep, inspiring and challenging.
In A Prisoner Of Versailles, the story of how Madeleine and her family continues as they try to escape King Louis XIV in the Huguenot Persecution of the 1600’s. In the first few chapters, Madeleines husband, Francois, dies from consumption and the family is launched into the task of escaping to the new world without their husband, father and leader. As the family sets out to to leave Switzerland, King Louis sends Captain Paul Bovee and his soldiers to capture Madeleine and her oldest son, Philippe, to be taken back to Versailles. With the family separated, Madeleine struggles to see how the Lord will provide a way for them to leave Versailles peacefully and journey to the new world.
I’ve heard it said that “the second book is never as good as the first.” Well, that’s simply not true of A Prisoner Of Versailles. The author took the suspense, plot and spiritual depth from the first book and weaved it flawlessly into the second. The historical aspect is very important in this novel, as it emphasizes the time in France when King Louis XIV persecuted the Huguenots who would not convert to Catholicism. What we learn from this part of the story is how King Louis’ need for control reached beyond the border of France. In fact, he would send his soldiers into Switzerland and pay informants to tell his people where the Huguenots were and kidnap them, bringing them back into France for punishment. Nice guy, right? Throughout the book, Madeleine and Philippe are faced with a choice Believers still struggle with today – do we conform to the world around us, or, do we boldly stand for our faith? Every day, this mother and son had to resist the charms of Versailles and keep their hearts pure. I must say, I was very surprised and pleased how the author handled the temptations and questions Madeleine faced. To me, it made her real. She was no super-saint, but God worked through the people around her to strengthen her faith when she needed it most.
Conclusion: Though this book had a happy ending, the characters experienced a lot of heartache to finally reach a place of peace. When dealing with persecution, there must be sacrifice on someone’s part. I never would have guessed Paul Bovee to be that person, but his actions at the end of the book added a redemptive quality to the story that required a Kleenex box for me – there was no getting through that chapter without tears! Also, I really liked how the author set Pierre on a path of spiritual growth. In book one, he converted to Protestantism and you can see how the Lord really changed him in this second installment of the series. With the development of these characters plus Madeleine and Philippe facing temptation at court and the rest of the family holding onto faith in Switzerland, it is safe to say that this is a very deep book. The themes are thought provoking, the characters real and the history vibrant. A Prisoner Of Versailles is a fitting tribute to those who faced these trials in real life all those years ago in France. May their faith never be forgotten.
To me, there are three different ratings for romance…the way-to-gushy romance, the love at first sight/passionate romance and the sweet romance that makes friends, couples. A Prisoner Of Versailles seems to have a definition all its own. The romantic part between Madeleine and Pierre is extremely subtle! Even more subtle than a sweet romance.
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