The Choosing Time
This is a charming and simple look at young love amidst religious tensions in 16th-century France. Gisele de Bonnerot comes to the court of the king to serve his son’s new wife, Catherine de Medici. She meets and falls in love with a young Breton lord, Jean d’Estienne, who comes under suspicion of heresy in a time when the Catholic Church and the authority of the King of France are threatened by the rising Reformation. When Jean is arrested and likely doomed to be burned at the stake, Gisele, whose father has betrothed her to a cruel and vindictive man, takes it upon herself to free Jean so they can flee to Brittany and be married. The novel offers a look at a time of conflict and uncertainty that included the stirrings of a break with traditional authority, including the utter lack of rights for a young woman. Gisele is an admirable and cleverly determined young woman who chooses to be with a man she loves and who loves her, rather than agreeing to be the pawn her father and the king’s court expect her to be. Teens, young adults, and adults will all find this book suitable and entertaining.