You know you’re in for a good book when from the very first page you’re pulled in and eager to turn the page to find out what happens next! The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green does just that and will not disappoint from cover to cover. On the very first page, we meet Julianne who is a midwife in France in the early 1700’s and in the middle of a risky delivery. Julianne has been an apprentice for 3 years and is with her instructor during the delivery and her instructor is miffed when the patient asks for Julianne to be there alone instead of the instructor. Doing she can to ensure the baby is delivered safely, but still having some issues since the baby is breach, Julianne’s instructor suggests they call the doctor and bleed the patient and in an act of spite, the instructor bleeds the patient too much, resulting in death. The patient’s husband is devastated having already lost a wife and child during birth, and now he is stuck with a baby, but no wife to care for it. Knowing that the penalty for malpractice is life in prison, the instructor suggests the authorities are alerted to have Julianne thrown in jail.
Fast forward a few months. Julianne is in prison in France with no hopes of ever seeing freedom again, until she overhears talk of sending convicts to New Orleans to settle the colony for France. Having a brother who enlisted as a soldier of France and was sent to New Orleans, Julianne talks with the Mother nun who is somewhat reluctant to send her at first, but eventually agrees. Julianne is hopeful for a reunion with her brother who is the only family she has left. None of the convicts who are selected to leave realize though, that before they are sent to the colony, they will be forced to marry to populate the colony, which is the only reason they are being sent. Julianne finds herself married to a man named Simon who she has never met and is forced to carry out wifely duties and they set out for New Orleans.
Once there, and even on the ship over, Julianne seeks to find what information she can about her brother in hopes of reuniting, finding out that he died of fever after his stay with the natives a few years before. Julianne is heartbroken, but she and Simon set out to make the best life they can for themselves in the new colony and learn to love one another. Meanwhile, Captain Marc-Paul Girard has fallen for Julianne on the ship over and due to Simon being a bit rash at times, feels that Julianne deserves so much more than Simon is giving her. Being a man of moral character, however, Marc-Paul decides to just keep a watch out for Julianne since she is married to Simon. There is so much more to the novel, but I don’t want to spoil any surprises.
This is a novel that is full of romance, adventure, danger, and grace. When I picked this novel up, I had a difficult time putting it down because it is so fascinating and packed with twists and turns around every corner. It is full of grace because Julianne finds that even though she is ridiculed, she discovers grace through the kindness of others and being able to start over in a new world. You will not want to miss picking this one up. I don’t recommend this book for young or sensitive readers, as while it is a Christian based novel, there is some material that is not appropriate for younger readers and there is a little bit of gore from fights with the settlers and the natives and amongst the settlers that would have been common around that time. I probably won’t let my children read this book until they are adults. It is a fantastic novel though and I highly recommend it.
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I received this book free courtesy of Bethany House Publisher’s Blogger Review Program in exchange for an honest review.