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My Brother’s Crown

 
 
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Pros


Wonderful setting, sympathetic main characters, great point of view, amazing historical plot line.

Cons


Abrupt, rushed, ending, underdeveloped contemporary romance, contemporary characters lack depth


Bottom Line

The book is geared toward Christian women who like historical fiction and contemporary romance with a little mystery thrown in.

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Posted October 12, 2015 by

 
Full Review
 
 

France, 1685. Catherine Gillet knows her brother, Jules, wants to protect her from the sinister threats of the French crown. But Jules is involved in a potentially deadly enterprise, one connected with an encoded document. When his actions put the whole family at risk, will Catherine find a way to save them?

Virginia, present day. Renee Talbot, a direct descendant of Catherine’s, is fascinated by the document that’s been part of her family legacy for more than three centuries. Certain its pages hold hidden secrets, she takes a closer look—and makes a shocking discovery. But when memories of a childhood trauma are rekindled, she’s forced to seek answers of a different kind. Inspired by the faith and bravery of Catherine, can Renee find the truth and face her deepest fears at last?

From the authors of the Christy Award–winning The Amish Midwife comes an epic story of two women, centuries apart, each discovering her own hidden bravery, standing for what she believes in, and finding love in unexpected places.

 

As a fan of historical fiction, My Brother’s Crown intrigued me from the beginning. Not knowing much about the persecution of French Protestants it seemed to be an entertaining way to inform myself. I was not disappointed.

The setting of My Brother’s Crown takes place in two diverse locations: present-day Virginia and seventeenth century France during Louis X1V’s reign. The Huguenots, who had enjoyed some religious freedom in a Catholic country, are now feeling the pressure of persecution. From page one, the reader is immediately immersed in the privation of these Christians as they try to escape to freedom. Although the authors take some liberties with the setting and the events surrounding the historical plot, they should be credited with alerting readers to those liberties. The present-day setting is also fascinating as the backdrop of the story. However, it lacks some of the picturesque detail of the plot in the past.

My Brother’s Crown is told through two points of view: those of Rene (present) and Catherine (past). Each is a strong woman determined to overcome the obstacles placed in her path. However, the characters in Catherine’s story are much more sympathetic and believable, while those around Rene seem immature and superficial despite an interesting storyline.

Though the two storylines take place 350 years apart, they switch seamlessly with each other, and a suspenseful tone is carried throughout the book. However, the suspense in the historical plotline is much more effective than in the present-day one.

In My Brother’s Crown, the plot and conflict are driven by the characters’ actions and external events, which lead to internal struggles and incredibly hard choices. The conflicts in the story allow for deep growth in the historical characters, while the cotemporary ones remain flat and inexplicably unchanged. This strange dichotomy continues in the romantic angle. The love story in the historical plot is used to deepen the characters’ relationships and grow together while the present-day romance is simplistic and unrealistic as if the contemporary plot needed another subplot, so two characters are thrown together to put more intrigue in the story. The dichotomy occurs again as the story ends. The seventeenth century storyline is exquisitely written with a satisfying climax. Although the present-day plot is suspenseful, it lacks depth, feels rushed, confusingly incomplete, and the murder mystery remains unsolved at the end, even though the authors are laying the groundwork for a sequel.

The spiritual message in the novel is strong and unmistakable. But, as with the rest of the novel, it is communicated more effectively in the storyline of the past because the characters’ faith is shown to be genuine by the way they conduct themselves through various trials.

My Brother’s Crown is a stand-alone novel and is the first in Mindy Starnes Clark’s and Leslie Gould’s Cousins of the Dove series. The book is geared toward Christian women who like historical fiction and contemporary romance with a little mystery thrown in. There is a murder scene in the contemporary plot that could bother some readers.

The historical plotline is almost enough to make up for the contemporary plotline’s shortcomings, and My Brother’s Crown is still a good story.


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