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(Review) The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green

Publisher and Publication Date: Bethany House. January 2017.
Genre: Historical fiction, 18th century, Louisiana.
Pages: 416.
Source: Free copy from Bethany House.
Rating: Excellent.

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Julianne Chevalier is a midwife, and is apprenticed to a woman named Adelaide. They live in Paris, France. The year is 1719. Julianne is age 25.
Julianne is imprisoned after the death of a woman who had just delivered. Her circumstances in the prison is hellish. She has an opportunity to leave the prison and be in exile in the French colony of Louisiana. A stipulation is she must marry a prisoner. They are to survive, work the land, and populate on order of the king.
Julianne has a secondary reason for immigrating to Louisiana: her brother is in Louisiana.

I don't read Christian fiction often. This story captured me from the front cover, to the last page and back cover.
And speaking of the front cover, I love it. The bottom of the illustration is a typical bayou scene of southern Louisiana. The upper 3/4 of the illustration is an 18th century dress. So often in Christian fiction an air-brushed model appears on the front cover. I'm bored with this. The Mark of the King's front cover breaks away from that standard. Bravo.

Julianne is a believable character. She is an interesting character. She provides the conduit to a time period and history I knew little about. Her life story kept me reading. She is not an over-the-top heroine, but she shows a courage and determination to survive. She keeps her wits. She makes decisions that are not ideal, but tenacious.
I love reading about midwifery. The situations, medical knowledge, and clients add breadth to the story.
The story line of convicted men and women meeting and immediately marrying gave me the chills. I felt Green did a splendid job of the atmosphere of tension in this situation. In addition, she created a candid "sealing of the ceremony." The Mark of the King is forthright about the marriage act. Even though this is Christian fiction, I fully understood the impact of this scene on the characters. Scenes that are believable, and not skimmed over, are important in any great story!
A mystery twist adds another dimension to The Mark of the King. 
Traveling by ship is perilous, especially during a storm in the Gulf of Mexico.
Colonizing a new land during the early 1700's without any "conveniences" of western Europe was sobering. They literally were trail-blazers and fearless.
What makes The Mark of the King a Christian fiction book? It speaks of prayer; and God is at work in the lives of the characters and they acknowledge Him.

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