The Diamond Keeper
In 1792, nineteen-year-old Claudie Durand, an innkeeper’s daughter in a small village in Brittany, expects never to marry because all the men are attracted to her beautiful younger sister Mathilde. The events of the French Revolution seem distant to Claudie and her family. When the revolutionary army destroys her village, everything changes. Mathilde’s admirer is killed in the fighting, but he entrusts her with a magnificent blue diamond, stolen from the royal treasury. The two sisters journey across the war-torn countryside to bring the diamond to a mysterious man known as the Rooster of Rennes, the leader of a troop of royalist rebels. Claudie hopes that she, Mathilde, and the Rooster will reach England and use the diamond to negotiate with the Prince of Wales for military aid for the royalist cause. She unexpectedly finds love with the Rooster, but will the war destroy her chance of happiness?
The Diamond Keeper is a companion volume to Mobley’s previous novel, The Jewel Thief, which tells the story of how the diamond, known today as the Hope Diamond, came to be cut for Louis XIV. Because the two books take place so far apart in time, they can easily be read on their own, but reading the previous book, and knowing the history of the diamond, enhances the reader’s enjoyment of this one. I loved the character of Claudie, a heroine who is not beautiful and feels inferior to her sister. She has great strength and determination and overcomes many dangers during her journey to England. I also enjoyed reading a novel about the French Revolution that does not take place in Paris. Claudie’s village is far from the major events, but, even there, people are not safe, and Claudie, who thought herself ordinary, becomes a heroine. Highly recommended for ages 12 and up.