Verdict: Dense with detail, TWISTED FATE provides an understanding of how the growing Protestant faith--nearly France’s entire middle-class, was virtually eradicated as they were forced to permanently flee the country or face extermination.
As a member of today’s Huguenot Society, Frank Harrelson descends from Jean Horry, Madame du Frene, and their son Daniel Horry who arrived in the colony of Carolina during an era when for many years in France and elsewhere, “ministers and elders of the Reformed Church, as well as ordinary citizens who practiced Reformist beliefs were arrested, tortured, and imprisoned. In many cases these persons were executed by a shot to the head, a saber through the heart, hanging or beheading on the guillotine.”
When thinking about the Reformation, one might recall Martin Luther posting his Ninety-Five Theses on a church door, but most people are not aware of all the danger and sacrifice that were part of ordinary people making the choice to be Protestant, back when the Catholic Church was the prevailing power in Europe. It’s interesting to see the role the Catholic Church played in these events. Readers learn how a floating rampart, built during these persecution campaigns to bring water transportation to a halt, might be dismantled utilizing a system similar to how England’s huge Stonehenge pillars is presumed to have been moved by ancient Druids.
But here’s the thing about historical fiction: no matter how many interesting factual tidbits there are, in order to captivate readers the story must effectively navigate the balance between being accurate and thorough, while at the same time delivering all the hallmarks of a good novel. In other words, it must also provide a bang-up story with all the necessary chapter hooks, intrigue, surprises, and fully-fleshed out characters that capture an audience and inspire them to care. Without these critical elements, a dense historical work can read like a sermon first and a story, second.
With information sometimes repeated unnecessarily in dialog following events where the same particulars were already given, plot action that could feel more personal and more active, and a Preface plus Introduction that go on far too long, TWISTED FATE would benefit from additional revision in order to give it the best chance at connecting with its widest possible audience.
Dense with detail, TWISTED FATE provides an understanding of how the growing Protestant faith–nearly France’s entire middle-class, which included merchants, business people, writers, doctors, scientists, musicians, theater people and shipping magnates–was virtually eradicated as they were forced to permanently flee the country or face extermination. It was a social crises from which many citizens believe the country has still not recovered.
~Cristina Salat for IndieReader