P. J. Dean
1571. France’s fate depends on a match between Awa, the daughter of a visiting diplomat from the Jolof Kingdom in West Africa, and Blaise, the nephew of the most powerful leader of the Huguenot faction in the country. But marrying each other is the last thing they want to do. To Awa, Blaise is a womanizer, a wastrel, and worse—isn’t Catholic. Blaise, meanwhile, has hated Catholics since they murdered his parents. With the fate of France hanging in the balance, can they find a way to love someone who stands for everything they hate?
1571. France is in stasis. The peace struck after the latest War of Religion between Roman Catholics and Protestants (Huguenots) is fragile and desperately needs more support to sustain it.
The monarchy proposes a royal wedding joining a Catholic princess to a Huguenot prince as the needed bulwark. Negotiations are set in motion. All is well. Or so it appears. On another front, France has fallen far behind other European nations in its quest to expand its empire overseas. Expenditures from civil wars have sapped her coffers, her energy and have stunted her economic dreams. Could another marriage remedy the problem by mixing religious unity with the possibility of increased commerce?
Enter Awa, the daughter of the visiting, Roman Catholic, Wolof diplomat from the elite ranks of the Jolof Kingdom in West Africa. She embodies the best of her land in her manner and in her education. She is dutiful, proud, and respectful of her family, but after living a portion of her formative years at the French court of Charles IX, she has become outspoken and a tad willful.
Enter Blaise, the nephew of the most powerful leader of the Huguenot faction in the country. An aristocrat. Learned. Traveled. Haunted. Ex-soldier. Ladies’ man. Rarely sees a sunrise, unless he is retiring at that hour. He abhors responsibility of any kind. And Roman Catholics—ever since they murdered his parents.
If Awa and Blaise can cease fighting long enough, could their marriage quell domestic unrest, bring riches and stability to France, but most importantly deliver true love to them before the realm implodes over religious matters again?