16 year old Lidie Brunier has everything; looks, wealth, health and a charming suitor but there are dark clouds on the horizon. Lidie and her family are committed Huguenots and Louis XIV has sworn to stamp out this ‘false religion’ and make France a wholly Catholic country. Gradually Lidie’s comfortable life starts to disintegrate as Huguenots are stripped of all rights and the King sends his brutal soldiers into their homes to force them to become Catholics. Others around her break under pressure but Lidie and her family refuse to convert. With spies everywhere and the ever present threat of violence, they struggle on. Then a shocking betrayal forces Lidie’s hand and her only option is to try and flee the country. A decision that brings unimaginable hardship, terror and tragedy and changes her life for ever.
‘One of the very best historical novels I have ever read’
Sandra Robinson, Huguenot Ancestry Expert
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Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/bW6zGG
Enjoy an Excerpt from The King’s Command
She scrambled to her feet and saw that her master was being taken into the house. She gasped as she noted the state of him, his clothes torn and his face bruised and swollen. As he was being thrust through the door, he turned and saw her and for a moment their eyes met.
Then she ran. But not back to the house in the faubourg.
It will be too dangerous there. I dare not go back. They have my master – and the family are planning to flee. The soldiers will be there again, to be sure.
She was sweating profusely and her heart rate was so fast that she felt faint, but she kept going, arriving at last at the banks of the great river and it was only then that she stopped and sat down on the ground, her whole body shaking.
Then someone was standing over her, speaking to her. ‘What ails you, Susanne?’
She looked up, recognising one of the fish sellers. She swallowed and tried to gather her wits.
‘I …’ she began.
‘Are you looking to cross the river?’ asked the woman.
The farm. I shall be safe at the farm.
Susanne nodded. ‘I am sent to help at my mistress’s farm,’ she stuttered, the lie coming easily, ‘but I was robbed by some fellow and he took my purse.’
‘It is little wonder you look so upset, girl. Come, my husband is going over to the other side directly. He will take you for free.’
Susanne looked up at her. ‘Thank you.’ Then she started to cry.
The woman smiled. ‘Do not take it so hard, child. It was not your fault. Your mistress will not chide you. What a villain to take the coin from you. You must tell her what occurred. Did you recognise the man who robbed you?’
Susanne shook her head.
The woman made a tutting noise with her tongue. ‘Poor child. Now come, he is leaving directly.’
It was a sunny day with enough breeze to fill the sails and the crossing did not take long. As they headed for the far bank. Susanne looked back, half expecting to see soldiers coming for her but all was as usual with people going about their daily business and boats criss-crossing the river or going downstream towards Bordeaux.
When they reached the other side, the boatman lowered the sails and pulled the boat up on the bank. Susanne began to thank him but he asked her where she was going and when she told him, he rubbed his chin and frowned.
‘It is a long walk, child. If you wait here there will be carts coming to the river’s edge soon, filled with goods for me to ferry over. No doubt one of the drivers can take you close to your mistress’s farm.’
Susanne felt tears coming again but wiped them away before the man noticed.
A word of kindness and I am undone.
She sat at the river’s edge then, while the boatman arranged things in the craft and then lent against the bow to wait.
It wasn’t long before they noticed a cart in the distance, the horse dragging a heavy load behind it. The boatman shaded his eyes and stared.
‘I know the man,’ he said. ‘He’s a good fellow. And if he can’t take you there will be others following.’
He was right. There were other laden carts, now, coming into view, all heading their way and now there were other boats coming from across the river and landing nearby. Soon there was quite a crowd of folk unloading and loading, talking, laughing, heaving.
Susanne looked about it. It was all so normal, the cheerful exchanges, the day to day activities.
And yet everything has changed.
Rosemary Hayes has written over fifty books for children and young adults. She writes in different genres, from edgy teenage fiction (The Mark), historical fiction (The Blue Eyed Aborigine and Forgotten Footprints), middle grade fantasy (Loose Connections, The Stonekeeper’s Child and Break Out) to chapter books for early readers and texts for picture books. Many of her books have won or been shortlisted for awards and several have been translated into different languages.
Rosemary has travelled widely but now lives in South Cambridgeshire. She has a background in publishing, having worked for Cambridge University Press before setting up her own company Anglia Young Books which she ran for some years. She has been a reader for a well-known authors’ advisory service and runs creative writing workshops for both children and adults.
Rosemary has recently turned her hand to adult fiction and her historical novel ‘The King’s Command’ is about the terror and tragedy suffered by the French Huguenots during the reign of Louis XIV.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rosemary-Hayes/e/B00NAPAPZC