Aimie K. Runyan has written a wonderful debut novel about the early settlers in Quebec, Canada. “Promised to the Crown” tells the story of three young ladies who have been selected, due to different circumstances, to travel to Canada to be wives to the settlers. France has determined that this new world’s first French citizens need to be encouraged to stay, farm, marry and raise a family. Each young woman’s sole purpose is to marry and have as many children as possible to colonize this new territory. The novel takes place in 1667 and combines fact and fiction to produce a very readable and likable novel. The hardships that these colonists endured are many, and each woman has her own problems. However, the friendship among the three, Elizabeth, Rose and Nicole adds to the courage each one finds in her own self.
Bound for a new continent, and a new beginning.
In her illuminating debut novel, Aimie K. Runyan masterfully blends fact and fiction to explore the founding of New France through the experiences of three young women who, in 1667, answer Louis XIV’s call and journey to the Canadian colony.
They are known as the filles du roi, or “King’s Daughters”—young women who leave prosperous France for an uncertain future across the Atlantic. Their duty is to marry and bring forth a new generation of loyal citizens. Each prospective bride has her reason for leaving—poverty, family rejection, a broken engagement. Despite their different backgrounds, Rose, Nicole, and Elisabeth all believe that marriage to a stranger is their best, perhaps only, chance of happiness.
Once in Quebec, Elisabeth quickly accepts baker Gilbert Beaumont, who wants a business partner as well as a wife. Nicole, a farmer’s daughter from Rouen, marries a charming officer who promises comfort and security. Scarred by her traumatic past, Rose decides to take holy vows rather than marry. Yet no matter how carefully she chooses, each will be tested by hardship and heartbreaking loss—and sustained by the strength found in their uncommon friendship, and the precarious freedom offered by their new home.