From Christy award-winning authors Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould comes a brand-new sweeping family saga. Close-knit cousins are individually led on a redemptive journey as they follow the threads of their family's mysterious past and discover how it impacts the future.
Renee Talbot, a director in her family's 350-year-old paper company, is facing a huge problem: how to stay afloat in an increasingly paperless world. When her grandmother asks for her help in finding answers to some unsettling family-related questions, Renee's search for truth takes her to Europe, where she learns the story of Catherine Gillette, an ancestor who lived in seventeenth-century France. Headstrong and independent, young Catherine's brave actions saved the original paper company--and various members of the family--during a time when the French Huguenots were being persecuted by Louis XIV.
As Renee tries to save the company and her family's legacy, she draws courage and wisdom from an ancestor who stood strong and faithful when life was at its most perilous and God seemed to expect more from her than she ever thought she could deliver.
Mindy Starns Clark is the bestselling author of more than 30 books, both fiction and nonfiction, and has received numerous literary honors, including two Christy Awards and RT Book Review Magazine’s 2012 Career Achievement Award. Mindy and her husband, John, have two adult children and live near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
"My Brother's Crown" by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould is the first book in a modern/historical trilogy. The book seamlessly weaves together two stories, one set in present-day Richmond, VA, and the other in 1685 France.
In the modern storyline, four cousins convene at a family reunion to try to find closure for a traumatic event they experienced as children. The main character in this story, Renee, is a career-oriented scientist; her intelligence and work experience make her a great choice to lead the search for answers to what really happened in the past. There is also a side plot involving a potential romance.
The historical storyline involves Catherine, a young woman coping with persecution and her brother's domination of most aspects of her life. The two time periods are connected by a document originally created long ago in France. That document is at the center of the modern-day family reunion.
I found myself loving both stories equally. The historical part was well-researched and educational (although it never read like a textbook). Most of my prior knowledge of the Huguenots was of those that left France and settled in South Africa; it was interesting to learn more about the persecution that caused them to leave France in the first place. The modern story was equally intriguing. I liked Renee, and found her to be very relatable.
I highly recommend this book, but please plan to read the entire trilogy! Although the Catherine storyline is wrapped up nicely, and there is come closure to the Renee storyline, you'll need to read all three books to learn the truth about about what really happened to the four cousins.
A family legacy involving a rare document, and a cold case murder mystery come together in an unusual way in book one of this new series! Renee Talbot, a brilliant research chemist working for her large family's printing business, flies to Virginia for the annual family reunion, anticipating a ceremony to hand over a priceless family heirloom: a rare document her ancestors printed three centuries ago, which guided persecuted Huguenots to safety. As the reunion dredges up horrible memories of an incident that occurred nearby, Renee finds courage to face her fears while reading an old journal written by a woman whose own bravery helped preserve her family in the midst of tremendous religious persecution.
The dual timeline of the story worked well in presenting the family's legacy, and set the stage for a continuation in the next book. Faith, hope and courage were threaded through both past and present storylines, effectively pulling the two together. The Huguenot history was very interesting, and explained why so many French people fled the country in the late 17th century. It made me think about what I would do if put to the test for my faith. I felt for Catherine, the woman who kept the journal, as she had to make a lot of hard choices under difficult circumstances. It was hard to know who was trustworthy sometimes. Hoping the cold case mystery investigation continues in the next book. The cousins all seem to have a story to tell also.
Recommend for fans of historical Christian fiction with a bit of romance! 4.5 stars
(Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the book provided in exchange for this unsolicited honest review.)
I really enjoyed this story. The way the stories about the two girls in different time periods were intertwined gave the story a mysterious air. It kept me interested in the story and it's outcome until the end when everything was resolved. Definitely a page-turner.
I, personally, love historical books. I love learning things while reading and historical fiction books are just a wonderful way to learn about history while enjoying a fictional story. Fiction is great. History is great, but a little dry by itself. Put them together and it makes for a wonderful mix.
The only thing I can say I would change, if I could change anything, would be the end of Renee's story. I would have liked to see them work a little more to get the message from Catharine's brother. The fact that Blake did it all himself and then just read it to Renee ruined, in a way, the excitement that I had built up throughout the book. Other than that, I truly enjoyed the book.
Reading this series in order is rather important. I read the third book first, and so that totally gave away all that happened in the modern part of this book. Because of that, I didn't find the book to be incredibly interesting. I did really like the "historical" part of the book, and that storyline drew me in.
I would like to read the second book some day, just to get the rest of the puzzle pieces in place.
Late seventeenth-century France is not a good time to be a Huguenot. The Gilletts know this firsthand. But in spite of it they stand fast in their faith even as darkness descends upon their lives. For Catherine Gillett it is probably a little more difficult. While she wishes to save her family her brother continues to grow his business. And there's a very dark rumor surrounding his business that sends Catherine into a wave of thoughts that threaten to drown her.
In between life and it's unexpected turns this book took a backburner. What an ill-thought decision. This is a book I should have read on day one. It was AMAZING. I really didn't have high hopes for it but in order to branch out into contemporary fiction I thought I'd give it a go. I just wished it had been tackled sooner! I love the alternating narratives, but with - wait for it - the contemporary version being my favorite. If there's a sequel (there had better be) that sucker is getting read as soon as it hits the shelves. The ending was kind-of/kind-of-not a cliffhanger and I'm really eager to follow these characters onto the next stage of their journey. I really don;'t know what else to say, except that it was perfect. The characters were not perfect, but they weren't flat out complete messes either. A really really good story!
DISCLAIMER: In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” we would like to note that we received an electronic copy of “My Brother's Crown” provided by the publishers, Harvest House, in exchange for our honest review.
This book was certainly different than what I'm used to from both of these ladies! The writing is certainly different but I still enjoyed the book. They've done a fabulous job with this story right down to the family history, religion and all sorts of awesome things! This is just one of the many things that I love about historical fiction! Each book is different of course but I liked the style of this one! I'm gonna talk about the book cover. It's what drew me to read it and of course the authors as well. In some ways this cover is pretty cool. But in others I do wish they would show the character's face on it. I understand why but sometimes I feel like I'm reading about headless people!! Not a very comfortable thought. A well written book with wonderful characters that came to life again and I liked how their feelings came across to me in this book Nice job ladies!! I recommend this book. My thanks to Netgalley. NO compensations were received and all opinions are my own
I'm a big fan of split-time novels, and Mindy Starns Clark is one of my favorite authors. Paired with Leslie Gould, who has written some of the only Amish fiction I will read, this series gave me high expectations.
From book 1, it mostly delivered. (Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the publisher. Review reflects my honest opinion.)
The stories center on the Talbot family, whose generations trace back to France in the late 17th century and who are Huguenots, French protestants. This first book sets up the background both for the contemporary storyline and the historical one. In it, we learn about Catherine Gillet and her struggle to do what is right at a time when protestants were being persecuted for their faith. The contemporary storyline introduces us to four Talbot cousins who become involved with solving a decades-old mystery.
I appreciated the pace of the novel. There were good chunks of the historical storyline balanced with several chapters in a row from the contemporary line. Sometimes books like these bounce back and forth too much and it's hard to keep the action and POV straight. It also helped that the contemporary storyline was written in first person while the historical one was in third person. It worked for me. And this first book provided a great start to an enjoyable series.
The first book in the "Cousins of the Crown" series, "My Brother's Crown", is a wonderful blend of historical and contemporary plot-lines. The authors do a great job at grounding the reader in each world, and weaving them together into a cohesive story that I quite enjoyed. Although the contemporary sections featured some interesting sub plots (and some romance female readers will especially no doubt enjoy), I have to say that it was the historical scenes that really caught my interest. The plight of the Huguenots in seventeenth century France is not one I have read about before, and I was saddened to see how a lack of religious freedom led to their persecution. I can only imagine how difficult that must have been for people to face a seemingly impossible choice, of converting to Catholicism or risking losing their home, their friends, their family, and even their lives. The authors did a tremendous job of setting the scene and bringing history to life with vivid details that showcased the obvious research they put into making things feel authentic. The character of Renee in the present day felt a little more one-sided than the other characters from the past, but I did like her spunk and her determination to find justice regarding the murder scene she and her cousins stumbled upon in their youth. Although that particular sub-plot is not wrapped up in this book, it leaves a nice tie-in for a future novel, as it appears that Renee's grandma knows more about the murder than she let on when Renee was a child. I look forward to seeing what mystery is uncovered!
With likeable characters, a fascinating historical setting, and an intriguing plot that kept the pages turning, "My Brother's Crown" is another winner from the dynamic writing team of Clark and Gould. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Harvest House. Available at your favourite bookseller!
When I picked up this book I wasn't sure what to expect. I like historical fiction, but I wasn't sure if I would like a book that went all the way back to 1685 France. My concerns were quickly laid to rest as I became immersed in the stories of two women from very different time periods.
I really enjoyed all of the historical details in this book. They were woven into the story in such a way that I feel as if I received a history lesson without every being bored. In fact, there is no time to be bored reading this book. There are several plot twists that keep the reader engaged in the story.
Adding to the wonderful historical detail in this book is the character development. There are many characters in this book and each is well-developed and multi-faceted. Catherine was my favorite character in the book. I instantly liked her and could sympathize with her in her feelings about her relationships with her brother and boyfriend.
The authors did a fantastic job of weaving Catherine's and Renee's stories together. I loved how the story was told in both present-day Virginia and 1685 France. I usually shy away from books that are co-written as I think the story isn't told as well. This is so not the case in this book. This book is so well written that is is easy to tell the authors are from one mind and one heart with this story. The writing is seamless and strong. I can't wait to read the next book in this series!
If you like fiction wrapped in historical detail you will love this book. This book would be as equally enjoyable for anyone who enjoys good clean fiction. Happy reading!
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
My Brother's Crown by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould is a split-time-period historical fiction novel. The way the authors bounced between 1685 and the present day really kept me on my toes. I especially enjoyed how the events in both Catherine and Renee's stories would vacillate between foreshadowing each other and filling in the gaps in the other's narrative. While the character Renee and I share a remarkable number of personality traits (uncanny), in time I became more engrossed in the historical storyline. It served as my introduction to Huguenots, which surprised me since just 4 years ago my husband and I visited Paris and Versailles. During our trip we heard a lot about Louis XIV, but nothing at all of the Huguenots. If we were to go back again I would seek out this portion France's history.
Clark and Gould spin a web of mystery and intrigue within both eras. For me, Catherine's story had a definite ending with an uncertain, yet hopeful nod to the future. Renee's, however, was a can of worms that had just been opened. I'm hooked! The release of My Sister's Prayer (Cousins of the Dove, Book 2) cannot come soon enough.
I received My Brother's Crown as a member of the Harvest House Book Club. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould hit a grand slam with this first book, My Brother's Crown, in the series, Cousins of the Dove. Why should you pick up a copy? First of all, Clark and Gould are golden as a writing team, penning taut, suspenseful Christian fiction. Secondly, they are writing about persecution of the Huguenots in France. This is a must read for history buffs, for French history buffs, for those who like to read about the poor, downtrodden, not likely to succeed. Thirdly, this tantalizing tale is served up in sound bites, alternating between the present day American Talbot family reunion and seventeenth century French ancestors who run a paper company,trying to keep one step ahead of le Roi Soleil's dragoons.
No matter which century the book is covering, there is fear, excitement, secrets,romance, and distrust, as well as independence and a need for quick action. Where does faith enter into the picture of this miasma of swirling emotions and tumultuous times? Who can be trusted and who is set on destruction? I couldn't breathe freely until I finished the book!
I gratefully received this new favorite book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. My Brother's Crown will be released October 1, 2015. Grab it quickly!
Outstanding book! I loved it and hope there is more to the story in upcoming books! Two accounts of two different women in two different times are interwoven in a beautiful way. Each one intriguing on its own but they do have a connection, a family tie. The reality of the persecution of the Huguenots in France by Louis IV and their desperate migration to other countries to freely practice their religious beliefs creates the background for Catherine's story. Her family jointly owns a printing business with her fiance's family and a brochure they produce generations later is the focus of Renee's life in current time. This book contains mystery, romance, and history and its pace is perfect. As I neared the end I really did not want the book to be over. The characters were deep, well developed, and rememberable. They grow, struggle, and at times, fail.
My Brother's Crown is one of the best books I have read recently and I highly recommend it.
I received a copy of this book from Net Galley for my honest review which I have given.
A very interesting look at pre-Revolution France during the Edict of Nantes and the Huguenots persecution. I am unfamiliar with that period in history, outside of Janette Oke's The Meeting Place and series. I found it very interesting and heartbreaking. The present day storyline was also interesting and shed light on some of the historical events. I believe this is the beginning of a series, so I am eager to read the rest of the series. Catherine's and Rene's stories were wrapped up, but we are left hanging on a couple events. Hopefully the rest of the series will answer my questions. Fans of Historical Fiction and France will enjoy this book. It is an interesting look into a period of history we do not read much about.
Thanks to Netgalley and publishers for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
My Brother's Crown by Mindy Starns Clark This book could easily have been two separate story, but the dynamics of the two stories would have been missed. The Huguenot persecution during the reign of Louis XIV, was a story of human struggle, and religious conflict. The religion of the king and the dispute of the public greed and corruption have made France a dangerous place for Catherine Gillet and her family. Her grandmothers conversion by marriage to the Huguenot faith was a moment of religious inspiration, the conflicts in France during her golden years has made it a very dangerous place for her remaining family members. Renee Talbot, many generations remove distant from her ancestors looks not only at the persecution and reliance of her relatives but with a mystery related to the documentation from the time of strife. Her personal struggle finds solution when she finds the solution to her families mystery.
This is a spellbinding beginning to a wonderful new series. The authors have combined a dual story line. You are taken from present day events, including a murder, and a mystery, to the 1680s, and historical France, right into the middle of the Huguenot Persecution. I felt like I was right there in the midst of everything, right with the characters. These people, the Talbot family, are real and have issues that are easily related to. I especially enjoyed learning more about the Huguenots, as this is a time period I'd known very little about. The way the current day Talbot, Renee, is tied in, is also intriguing. She learns about her ancestors from a diary that Catherine wrote. In the meantime, she is also thrown into solving a mystery that has haunted her almost her entire life. And then there's a bit of romance thrown in, too. All in all, a delightful book, and I can't wait to read the rest of the series!!
The book takes place during two times periods, 1685 France and modern day. The French portion is historical fiction and relates to the struggle of the Huguenots, the French Protestants, under Louis XIV. I enjoyed the flow of the 1685 portion, which follows Catherine, but felt that the modern day portion was not given equal development or weight. I was disappointed with the fast wrap up and lack of real closer on certain plot points that were developed throughout the book only to never be answered or to be answered with a lack of drama.
That said, it was a good book and it was an interesting account of what it might have been like for people living in that time.
Full disclosure: I was given an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
My Brother’s Crown By: Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould
I really enjoyed My Brother’s Crown. It was like getting two books in one. The story goes back and forth from France 1685 and ties into the modern day Virginia. The two authors, Clark and Gould , did excellent history research and writing , and the characters were very strong. My Brother’s Crown is a historical fiction book with some romance , that kept me turning the pages to see what was going to happen next. There is a very old pamphlet and from it some mystery and puzzle solving that is being done. The story does go back and forth in times , but I did not have any problem following the story or the characters. I was given a copy of this book by the author for my honest review, which I have given.
My Brother's Crown Cousins of the Dove #1 By Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould
My Brother's Crown is one of those delightful stories that weaves two into one in a such a way that the reader is thoroughly and completely drawn in within the first pages. The story opens in 1685 France and switches off with present day Virginia.
In France, the Gillet family is at a crossroads as the nation has become hostile to those identified as Huguenots. Huguenots are faced with a choice - convert to Catholicism, flee the country, or face the consequences of their defiance of King Louis XIV.
Catherine wants the family to leave yesterday, but her older brother Jules seems reluctant to take any action. Even worse, her betrothed, Pierre Talbot is more than happy to let her brother decide everything for the family and him. Catherine is determined to do whatever she feels is necessary to safeguard those she holds dear. But does she truly know her own heart? And if temptations come her way will she stand firm in her faith?
In Virginia, the Talbot family has prospered during their time in America and has decided to share an important legacy of their family with the world. A document that Renee Talbot feels sure is more than it appears at first glance. As Renee looks for a way to test what she suspects her own past is about to make its presence known. But this time Renee is not about to let anyone tell her she imagined what has haunted her for years. This time she has an ally who is willing to help her prove what she knows.
This book is perfect for those who love exploring history through fiction. And if your tastes run towards contemporary fiction, you are covered as well. Faith is an important theme throughout and is woven so that it doesn't come across as forced. The other thing the reader will come away with is the value of family in an individual's life. It is interesting to contrast the two stories as they unfold from Catherine and Renee's viewpoints. If you are looking for a book club selection you can't go wrong with this one.
And the dress on the cover - keep your eyes open for it as you read - it is an important factor!
I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher Harvest House, with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
My Brother's Crown brings together two different timelines in one family's lineage, the 17th-century and modern-day. Renee Talbot is a director in her family's paper business which has run for over 300 years. She is busily helping set up a display for a huge family reunion, featuring a pamphlet printed in 1685 France when she discovers it holds a secret message. Trying to decode it leads her to the story of Catherine Gillette, an ancestor from that time. There is also a mystery of a dark occurrence from one reunion that indelibly marked Catherine and three of her cousins. The book seamlessly connects both Catherine's and Renee's stories. One thing I really liked about the story is it explained quite a bit of why the Huguenots, a Protestant French religious group, were mostly forced to flee France. Though I knew a little of this history, My Brother's Crown did a great job of explaining it well and made it an enjoyable read. This is the first of a trilogy, and I plan on reading the rest of it very soon.
My Brother’s Crown Cousins of the Dove Book 1 By Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould.
This book is fantastic! It tells the story of Catherine Gillet in 1685 France and of Renee Talbot in present day Virginia. The book alternates between the two characters in such a way that you want to hurry up and get through the part of one character to get to the other one. It has romance and mystery with both characters.
I found the history of the persecution of the Huguenots under King Louis XIV in 1685 fascinating. It made me want to read more about the Huguenots and this time period. I am looking forward to reading the next book My Sister’s Prayer to find out more about the Huguenots and to see what is said about the mystery in the present day.
I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher Harvest House, with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
I loved this book, and cannot wait to start the next one in this two-volume series, COUSINS OF THE DOVE. Both of these authors (Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould) are favorites of mine and their combined efforts are truly rewarding. This novel, with historical appearances of Louis XIV, Madame Maintenon, and the Duchesse de Navailles, takes place in 1865 France as well as a current time-frame in Virginia. It follows the generations of the Talbot family and their printing business in the seventeenth century all the way to present time. The history of the plight of the Huguenots and their persecution in seventeenth-century France is a stark reminder of how Christians have suffered through the centuries. The novel weaves some history and romance along with a present-day murder mystery and the beginnings of a romance. It is a well-written story, sure to keep one's attention.
Being a big fan of Mindy Starns Clark I couldn't wait to read this collaboration with Leslie Gould. I was deep into the book from the Prologue. I had read a series about the Huguenots last year that was interesting but not told with as much fascination as I had for this book. One voice of the book tells the story of Catherine Gillet in 1685 France and weaves the story into the court of Louis XIV, while the other voice, present day descendant of Catherine, is a mystery all its own. Of course, the end of the book is left with the unfinished story that will lead into the rest of the trilogy.
This book follows a young woman, Renee who is guarded, but has a passion for her family history. The uniqueness of this book that I absolutely loved was the back and forth between present day and the tumultuous life her 11th great grandmother lived under the Huguenot persecution in France of the late 1600's. There are many correlations between her great 11 times grandmother's personality and Renee. Yet, she does not see, nor realize it until she faces her own fear(s). It is a lovely read that is easy and fairly quick due to the riveting story line and build of character. If you love historical fiction and this time period, it is definitely worth a read.
This book is great. It alternated between present day Virginia and 1685 France. This is the perfect book for fans of history as it follows a family of Huguenots in the 17th century. I had no idea that this group of protestants were treated this way. This is a perfect blend of mystery and romance and will keep you guessing to the end. I highly recommend this book. I won this book in a contest with no requirement for a review. All views are my own.
My Brother’s Crown by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould is the beginning of the Cousins of the Dove series and a great beginning it is. Wonderfully strong and vibrant characters. A plot that moves swiftly and seamlessly between two time periods. The book is rich with history, family devotion, religious differences and so much more. It is a powerful story with danger and suspense and a strong thread of faith flowing through it.
Not sure what I think. I loved the story of the Huguenots, but it dragged a bit. I also liked the contemporary part of the story, but this part had a mystery that wasn't solved, so I was irritated at the ending. There are 2 more books in the series, and I don't think the mystery is actually solved until book 3.
This is such an intriguing story, capturing mystery, and wholesome read! The story picks up pace and draws your attention as it continues to unfold. It is so unique in that it creates two stories, one of the ancestor and one of the descendant!
I do not agree with the religious beliefs described in the story but the values and faith-based perspectives are much appreciated.
Nice, rarely covered historical place and era (French Huguenots).Some unfinished business at the end of the modern story to get you to read the other parts of the series. Overall good! I think some of the differences on writing were a bit jarring, one story was told in the first person and the other in 3rd person.