Daughter of the Shadows (Defying the Crown)

Written by Kerry Chaput
Review by Dorothy Schwab

The saga of Isabelle Collette continues in Daughter of the Shadows, second in Kerry Chaput’s IPPY-award-winning Defying the Crown series. In book 1, Daughter of the King, Isabelle, a French Protestant branded with an H for Huguenot, worships in secret and fears the king and the Catholic law of France. In 1661, she crosses the ocean from La Rochelle, France, to the snowy forests of colonial Quebec to become a “daughter of the king”: promised a dowry, a farm, the opportunity to choose a husband and payment for each baby.

Chaput’s gripping adventure continues in 1667 as Isabelle, who denied her faith to become a Catholic, is living with nightmares and guilt. Well-developed characters Antoinette, a Catholic childhood friend, and James Beaumont, Isabelle’s husband by marriage contract, have become antagonists as she leads a double life to help Protestants escape persecution in France.  Chaput supports and improves Isabelle’s spy training and chance of survival with breathtaking descriptions of Naira, a native Huron skilled hunter who teaches lifesaving skills, using senses and mental acuity to overcome enemies. Adding to the suspense is Isabelle’s dangerous return to Paris as a daughter of the shadows. She encounters liars in Louis XIV’s court, Parisian poisons, and the prison walls of the Bastille.

Kerry Chaput creates suspense and anticipation through the schemes and secret agendas involving Isabelle and her conniving, greedy husband. Between graphic descriptions of the horrors in La Rochelle, training with Naira, and fights for survival, there is humorous relief in banter between Isabelle and a fellow conspirator, Andre. Within a narrative froth with twists and turns, Chaput’s dialogue exudes frustration, anger, tension, and pain.

Which Huguenots will Isabelle save? Book 3, Defying the Crown, is coming in March 2024.