After the death of her client, midwife Julianne Chevalier is imprisoned and branded, marking her as a criminal beyond redemption. Hoping to reunite with her brother, a soldier, she trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling French colony of Louisiana. The price of her transport, however, is a forced marriage to a fellow convict.
New Orleans is nothing like Julianne expects. The settlement is steeped in mud and mosquitoes, and there is no news of her brother, Benjamin. When tragedy strikes, she turns to military office Marc-Paul Girard for help, but does he know more about her brother than he will admit?
With her dreams shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous land, where only grace - and love - can overcome the stigma of the king's mark upon her shoulder.
Review: Oh... what a story! If only the shocking events within the pages of The Mark of the King were all fictional. The saying "truth is stranger than fiction" is oh so true... but perhaps rewording it slightly to: truth is more awful than fiction may be more accurate. I cried several times reading this book. The events within its pages are heart wrenching. You can imagine my shock (and horror) to discover at the end that many of them were true, historical events!
Julianne, who is wrongfully accused of murder, is branded as a criminal and sent to rot away the rest of her days in a damp, dark, rat infested prison. When the opportunity arises to head to New Orleans, Julianne knows she must be on that ship. She knows there is no way she can spend the rest of her days in prison. Unfortunately, the events that follow are brutal - and the life that Julianne was promised is not even close to what she finds herself facing. As Julianne faces brutality after brutality a picture of what life for these early settlers must have been like slowly unfolds.
This was a powerful novel that makes you relive the years following the formation of the new settlement of New Orleans. I would recommend this book to an older audience (18+) simply due to the disturbing nature of some of the situations these poor people found themselves in. Jocelyn Green does a remarkable job of penning characters that seem completely real, and she writes this piece of history in a way that will mark it in your memory forever.
The Mark of the King also has some very powerful faith components, namely some startling examples of forgiveness. Julianne's journey to find what her relationship with God is going to look like in this wild new land far from the pompous ceremonies of France is a deep and moving journey.
I would highly recommend this novel to all fans of historical romances.
Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications and Baker Publishing House for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.