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Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite
Brigitte Goldstein knows the history of France in those years of religious strife between Catholics and Huguenots in the late 1500s. She has woven an enchanting novel of France in that time period. It is 1588 and Sandrine, the local innkeeper's adopted daughter in the small French town of Bonneville, is often caught and beaten when she is found off in a corner reading her book, "Marguerite of Navarre". Peasant girls are not taught to read, they are just to be obedient. Sandrine is a hard worker, but there is something about her and people who stay at the inn find themselves deferring to her, something not generally done with a peasant girl of unknown origins. Philippe de Treffort, nobleman and soldier fighting for the Catholic king of France, arrives in Bonneville with his garrison and is attracted to Sandrine and her regal demeanor. Who is Sandrine? How will she find out about her origins?
"Princess of the Blood" is a first-rate piece of historic fiction that is set in France of long ago as men slaughter each other over who will be the next French King, a Catholic or a Protestant? It is highly-well-written, edited and formatted, and the believable, authentic characters that Brigitte Goldstein creates such as Arsene Rigoud, king of the beggars and friend to Sandrine, will live in the reader's mind as they all merge well with authentic events and historic figures such as Henri de Bourbon, King Henri IV of France. As Ms. Goldstein writes in this enchanting book's beginning, "The war came to Bonneval during Holiday Week in the year of Our Lord 1588, during what was then called the War of the Three Henries or the seventh civil war." And the reader will learn of this violent time in French history and the brave French people who endured and somehow went on with their lives.