The setting is New France and the time is the 18th century. Emilie and Robert are excited to be getting married finally. However, a wealthy land owner with a lot of clout has other ideas.. He wants Emilie for himself. He has the money, the reputation, and thugs lined up to do his dirty work and he enlists numerous people to help him stop the wedding. Enter an intriguing cast of characters, all either aiding or hindering Robert and Emilie in some way. A simply wedding suddenly goes awry.
There's a selfish and very frightened priest. (He's in the wrong profession) There's a mother who wants to see her daughter wed bad enough that she is willing to trick a priest. There's another man of the cloth who desires to help Robert and Emilie, but the Bishop (under the influence of the wealthy landowner's uncle who in turn is being influenced by the landowner's cousin) has him removed from the area. There's a shunned wife/novice nun with a very kinky sexual appetite. There's bread in the streets, rioting, false accusations, small pox.. and it seems the entire world is out to keep Robert and Emilie apart, even at one point, Emilie herself... as she is faced with a difficult decision.. Which vow to follow? This is not your typical regency romance.
Do not be intimidated by that long cast of characters. I am very impressed with how well this author introduced everyone gradually and made each person memorable. I never had to "flip" back pages to re read and figure out who was who or who had done what and I never felt the urge to begin writing names down either. Very well done.
As a matter of fact, I only have one quibble with this novel. The last half began to "pound" the repentance and forgiveness issues into my head too much. It began getting to religious for my tastes at times, especially when the men of the cloth began going on and on about forgiveness, repentance, and god. And in the end, everyone forgave too easily and everything tied up too wonderfully.
I was thoroughly entertained, however, as all the characters run to and fro, thugs threaten, cut off ears, and abduct innocent ladies, and at one point, I even laughed my butt off. "Carrots are necessary for men. They're long and hard and the more carrots a man eats, well, the more he will become just like them."
Favorite quote: "If those who commit injustices were obliged to give us their reasons, the world would not be as bad as it is."
Four stars. I received this in ebook format from the author.