Seventeenth Century France and the Huguenots

Here are some books I found to help with research on my next novel, Gédéon. Click on the images for my full reviews.

True to Her Faith by Harriet Gabourel

I bought this book mainly because of the subtitle: A Story of France in the Time of the Huguenots. That was the subject of interest to me, as some of my ancestors in Jersey were forced to flee France during the persecution after the Edict of Nantes was repealed in 1685. The fact that the story was apparently told through the life of a child, and claimed to be suitable for reading to 7 year olds, was an added benefit; my grandson is almost seven.

The book is beautifully and vividly written, both as regards descriptions of the rural scenery and depictions of the convictions and tortured emotions of the main players, and contains a wealth of information about the sufferings of the Huguenots under the obsessive and paranoid King Louis XIV.

The French Peasantry in the Seventeenth Century

This book by Pierre Goubert contains a wealth of otherwise hard-to-find facts about the often poverty-stricken and mostly unnoticed country folk in the diverse provinces and regions we now know as France. Everything warrants a chapter: food, clothing and housing; birth, marriage and death; farming and poaching practices; relationships between peasants, seigneurs, unwelcome soldiers, haughty priests and the revenue-hungry royal bailiffs; taxes and revolts.

Psaumes interdits by Marjolaine Chevallier

This is a very well-crafted story of an extended family of Huguenots caught up in the frenzied and irrational persecution under King Louis XIV after he repealed the Edict of Nantes in 1685. It is based on a true incident, in which smuggled documents from sympathisers in Holland are salvaged from a shipwreck near Rochefort on the west coast of France.

The Refugees: A Tale of Two Continents by Arthur Conan Doyle

Two exciting stories in one book. Conan Doyle has diligently researched events and conditions both in Versailles and in French-Canadian North America, and developed two superbly written tales linked by the person of Amory De Catinat, a half-hearted young Huguenot serving as a personal guard of the King.


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