Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Review: Duty to the Crown by Aimie K. Runyan

Title: Duty to the Crown
Author: Aimie K. Runyan
Format: ARC
Publisher: Kensington
Publish Date: October 25, 2016
Source: Author

What's the Story?:

From "In 1667, an invisible wall separates settlers in New France from their Huron neighbors. Yet whether in the fledgling city of Quebec or within one of the native tribes, every woman’s fate depends on the man she chooses—or is obligated—to marry.

Although Claudine Deschamps and Gabrielle Giroux both live within the settlement, their prospects are very different. French-born Claudine has followed her older sister across the Atlantic hoping to attract a wealthy husband through her beauty and connections. Gabrielle, orphan daughter of the town drunkard, is forced into a loveless union by a cruel law that requires her to marry by her sixteenth birthday. And Manon Lefebvre, born in the Huron village and later adopted by settlers, has faced the prejudices of both societies and is convinced she can no longer be accepted in either. Drawn into unexpected friendship through their loves, losses, and dreams of home and family, all three women will have to call on their bravery and resilience to succeed in this new world…"

My Two Cents:

"Duty to the Crown" is the second book in the "Daughters of New France" series by Aimie K. Runyan. The colony of New France is a little more established when the book opens up but still feels like a new frontier for many of its residents. I loved the first book in this series and was anxious to get back to Runyan's New France, still a very new setting for me and one that I really loved seeing through this book. Although New France is no longer new to the main characters in this book, it still makes for a fascinating setting where even a place that the characters think they know well can totally change their lives.

While characters from the first book appear, this book largely focuses on the next generation of women in New France. There is Claudine, the sister of Nicole from the first book who wants to find her husband. Gabrielle is a young woman that is forced into a loveless and abusive marriage and will have to rely on herself in order to make her situation better. Then there is Manon, a young woman who walks the line between the settlers and the natives, two groups who don't get along all the time. Through each of these characters, the author explores what it was like to live in New France during this time period. Each of the stories are interesting in their own way and I appreciated getting so many different perspectives. I loved how the author was able to create really different voices for each of the characters.

The world building and historical detail in this book are fantastic and I loved being immersed in the world of the characters. Settlement life is not glamorous and readers get many doses of reality throughout the book. I appreciated that the author did not shy away from the realities of settlement life even if it was difficult to read some parts of the book after becoming attached to some of the characters. Overall, this was a great follow up to the first book!



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