Find Me in the Stars | A Sweeping Story of Enduring Love by Jules Larimore

Find Me in the Stars: a Cévenoles Sagas novel – Book Two of the Huguenot Trilogy
Jules Larimore
“Larimore’s ability to engulf a reader into a tale… is brilliantly done.”
5-star Highly Recommended Award of Excellence ~ Historical Fiction Company
Separated by miles, connected by the stars, two healers forge their destinies in a quest for a brighter tomorrow.
Inspired by a true story, this refugee’s tale of sacrifice, separation, and abiding love unfolds in the Cévennes Mountains of Languedoc, France, 1697. A sweeping adventure during the time of Louis XIV’s oppressive rule and persecutions, this compelling narrative follows the intertwined destinies of two remarkable protagonists, Amelia Auvrey, a mystic holy-woman healer, and Jehan BonDurant, an apothecary from a noble Huguenot family, in a riveting tale of enduring love, faith, and the search for light in the darkest of times.
Amelia and Jehan are fierce champions of tolerance and compassion in their cherished Cévenole homeland, a region plagued by renewed persecution of Huguenots. The escalated danger forces their paths to diverge, each embarking on their own dangerous journey toward survival and freedom. The Knights Hospitaller provide protection and refuge for Amelia and her ailing sage-femme grandmother, even as they come under suspicion of practicing witchcraft. And, to avoid entanglement in a brewing rebellion, Jehan joins a troupe of refugees who flee to the Swiss Cantons seeking sanctuary—a journey that challenges his faith and perseverance. Jehan arrives to find things are not as he expected; the Swiss have their own form of intolerance, and soon immigrants are no longer welcome. The utopian Eden he seeks remains elusive until he learns of a resettlement project in the New World.
During their time apart, Amelia and Jehan rely on a network of booksellers to smuggle secret letters to each other—until the letters mysteriously cease, casting doubt on their future together. Jehan is unclear if Amelia will commit to joining him, or if she will hold fast to her vow of celibacy and remain in the Cévennes. Seemingly ill-fated from the start, their love is tested to its limits as they are forced to navigate a world where uncertainty and fear threaten to eclipse their unwavering bond.
As a stand-alone sequel to the award-winning The Muse of Freedom, a bestseller in Renaissance Fiction, Find Me in the Stars is based on true events in the life of Jean Pierre Bondurant dit Cougoussac–an unforgettable adventure where love and light endure against all odds.

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Enjoy an Excerpt
From Chapter 1
Flight of the Doves

22 September 1697 ~ Evening
Les Bouzèdes Hamlet, Mont Lauzère, Gévaudan, France

One by one, stars emerged in the darkening sky, yet the trembling young woman still clung to the sight of Jehan BonDurant and his spirited band of refugees as they departed in search of hope. Despite the heaviness shrouding her heart, Amelia Auvrey sat high in the saddle of the magnificent Andalusian mare that Jehan had entrusted to her care and stared at the distant lantern lights. Like tiny fireflies, they flickered, then disappeared into the somber embrace of Mont Lauzère’s forest.
A silent witness to the exodus, Amelia tried to quell her remorse as every vital spark of her essence yearned to call out after Jehan. She wiped salty tears from her face, then laced her fingers into the gentle mare’s silken mane, taking comfort in the warmth and rhythm of Luisant’s pulsing lifeblood.
A sudden wind whistled up the steep mountain cliffs, the pungent scent of pine smarting her nose, sharpening her senses. Leaves tinted by the colors of oncoming autumn ripped from the trees and swirled around her. The veil she wore fluttered as if a bird before a storm, its tiny embroidered stars dancing on a sea of azure silk. She grasped at it, but it loosened from her waves of chestnut hair and lifted just out of reach, disappearing into the night sky.
The sharp wind turned cold and stung her cheeks until she lowered her head. She wrapped her cloak tight and shivered—the air waking her to the reality that she had just watched the love of her life leave on an unknown odyssey to a foreign land.
Think on it no more, for it is done, she tried to tell herself. Knowing their love had been ill-fated from the start made it no less painful, so she struggled to restrain her weeping.
Then, amidst ragged breaths, she thought she heard a faint whimper from below. A slight nudge against her foot turned her focus to the golden eyes of her loyal wolf-dog, Romulus. Set deep in a thick white coat, they glinted in the moonlight.
She leaned forward and rested her head against the horse’s neck while stroking the soft fur between her dog’s ears. Fatigue gripped her limbs and fixed her eyes as she gazed out at the indigo mountains that had sheltered her people for centuries, keeping them hidden and their secrets safe. Yet new threats were on the rise daily. Threats that might imperil them all.
“Mademoiselle Auvrey.”
Amelia’s heart lurched, and she spun around in a start, the fierce winds having muted the hoofbeat of the approaching horse.
“I have your veil.”
The pounding in her chest slowed as she recognized the reassuring voice of her protector. The Hospitallers’ eight-pointed white cross on Commandeur François Timoleon’s black surcoat glowed in the moonlight over his tall physique. Even in the dim light, she could make out the creases on his furrowed brow. And, in his outstretched hand, her veil waved like a pennant in the wind.
She could not bring herself to speak. Even as the gusts diminished, her mind raced. Her burning eyes returned the Commandeur’s worried look with a vacant stare.
The beating of an owl’s wings against the night air distracted her attention from Timoleon and her sullen thoughts, drawing her gaze upwards to the heavens. To the brilliant stars and shining silver moon. She sighed in a breathy, wistful melody. Unlike the lanterns, at least the lights in the celestial sphere would never be extinguished—the only balm she could find for this bittersweet parting.
She tried to persuade herself there was no cause for sadness. After all, it was she who had encouraged Jehan, the young noble apothecary from Cougoussac, to leave their Cévenole homeland in search of Eden.
He needed to find a sanctuary where he was free to practice his healing arts and live according to his own spiritual beliefs. But, above all, where he could evade capture by King Louis XIV’s Intendant Basville and his dragoons. Their hunt had been fueled by Jehan’s attendance at the clandestine Huguenot assemblies of the Children of God. And by his alleged complicity in their plans to rebel, even though the accusations had been entirely false.
Amelia huffed at the very thought of it. Jehan would never be one to resort to sedition or violence. But the risk of arrest and enslavement on a galley ship still loomed large and was a risk he could no longer ignore. Although it would be a perilous and illegal journey out of the country, she had deemed it safer for him to depart, for she knew it offered hope for a peaceful existence.
Yet now, her certainty wavered. As she ran through the reasoning for Jehan’s departure, no amount of logic would lighten her heart. He had become her dear friend, working alongside her at the assemblies to provide healing for the mountain folk while championing tolerance and compassion. Her very dearest friend, there could be no denying. No one had gotten close to her heart in the way he had.
Biting her lower lip, she considered his journey ahead. It weighed on her like a heavy early frost, leaving her frozen, icebound, powerless, and left to face a desolate winter ahead with only memories to warm her heart.
Commandeur Timoleon cleared his throat. “Mademoiselle? Are you well?”
An ample, dark beard framed the benevolent face of this courageous man who had consented to shelter Amelia and her grandmother at his Knights of Saint Jean outpost—their saving grace amidst the resurgence of persecutions and instabilities that plagued the Cévennes again. Amelia glanced at the Commandeur, her fears reeling in her head. What if her presence were to bring trouble upon the Hospitaller community? Was it worth the risk?
She reminded herself that Timoleon had committed to the task without hesitation. They had made an agreement; it was a fair exchange for Amelia’s much-needed assistance in the commandery hospital, using the special healing skills passed down through her family for generations.
She took a deep breath of the chill air, grateful that she had come to feel at home in the Knights’ hamlet on Mont Lauzère over the past few weeks. But doubts still filled her thoughts. She took the veil from Timoleon and hastily tucked it into the pocket of her cloak. “I am not certain I did the right thing . . . giving Jehan so much hope.”

Jules Larimore is the author of emotive, literary-leaning historical fiction with a dose of magic, myth, and romance to bring to life hopeful human stories and inspire positive change. She is a member of France’s Splendid Centuries authors’ collaborative, a board member of the Historical Novel Society of Southern California, and lives primarily in Ojai with time spent around the U.S. and Europe gathering a rich repository of historical research in a continued search for authenticity.

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