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.
Sissy: Recently I have been researching my family’s Juchau line on my mother’s side, which happens to be a French Huguenot name. When I started reading My Brother’s Crown I was thrilled to find myself learning much more than I ever knew about the French Huguenots and that time period in France. I could imagine Bubby corseted and trussed up like a bosom-smooshed turkey hiding in the bottom of a potato cart and fleeing the Catholics! Very scary and exciting, and possibly smelly. Seriously, though, the historical portion of the novel was extremely interesting to me, but the combination of historical and modern day story lines made the book totally engaging.
Bubby: I agree with your last sentence. I have a rather different vision of the past, however. It involves me pushing Sissy into a priest hole (for her own safety, of course) while she is wearing something that looks like it came from under my car hood. Anyway, I always enjoy a story that bridges generations. Wouldn’t it be fun if you could go back and meet your ancestors and hear them tell their stories directly to you? As Renée studies the document from the past, it’s almost as if Catherine and Jules are speaking from the dust. I also enjoyed the secondary story about Renée and her cousins and the grisly murder scene they discovered as children. We are left with quite the cliffhanger regarding that murder. I am not so patiently waiting for book two of the Cousins of the Dove series to be written and published so that I can find out what the heck happened!
Sissy: If we went back and met our Juchau ancestors, they’d probably be more likely to recognize me as family than you, Bubby, since whenever I walk into a gathering of short Juchaus, I clasp my heart and say, “My people!”. I still love you and your stilt legs, though. Speaking of love, I thoroughly enjoyed the sweet love stories in both time periods in My Brother’s Crown, flanked by the wonderful (and not so wonderful) secrets and discoveries. Like Bubby, I am waiting impatiently to read the unraveling of the last secret, and at the same time ramping up my search for lost documents from our own family’s Huguenot pilgrims.
Bubby: I’m sorry that my 6 inches of extra height make you feel like I’m not a real Juchau, Sissy. Funny how you always claim me when you can’t reach stuff. I’m not quite sure where the tall genetics came from but it certainly wasn’t from that line. Maybe someone somewhere had a Viking lover we don’t know about? I want to see where My Brother’s Crown‘s modern day relationships develop as well and I’m curious to see where all the cousins end up. The Cousins of the Dove Series is definitely going in my “to be read as soon as it is published” pile.
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