Reviewed by Susan E. Richardson
The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green
In the year of our Lord 1719, midwife Julianne Chevalier finds herself imprisoned in Salpetriere. She wears the fleur de lys branded on her left shoulder, marking her as an unredeemable felon whose life now belongs to the King of France. She has no hope of pardon or reprieve. The prison will be her home for the rest of her life.
Desperate to find some way to be useful, knowing the brand to be unjust, she offers to help women giving birth at the prison. With her request denied, she reaches toward one last hope. The Company of the Indies needs men and women to help settle Louisiana. Perhaps if she could join them, she could find her brother, Benjamin, who had been stationed there as a soldier. Between them, maybe they could make a new life.
With The Mark of the King, author Jocelyn Green transports readers to New Orleans during its colonial years when newcomers struggled against mud, mosquitoes, and disease. Division between the French and the British translated into tension between the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes. Life was unpredictable and death might be as close as the alligator in the nearest swamp.
If you enjoy historical fiction, The Mark of the King is an excellent choice, written with attention to detail, well-developed characters, and various plot twists throughout. The book pulls you in and holds your attention to the satisfying conclusion.