A French Huguenot apothecary’s legacy of secrets, a mystic healer’s inspiration, a fateful decision.
In the mysterious Cévennes mountains of Languedoc, France, 1695, Jehan BonDurant, a young nobleman forcibly held in a Dominican prieuré as a child, comes of age only to inherit a near-derelict estate and his Huguenot family’s dangerous legacy of secrets. While he cherishes his newfound freedom apprenticing as an apothecary, his outrage mounts over religious persecutions led by King Louis XIV’s Intendant Basville, who is sent to enforce the King’s will for “One King, One Law, One Faith”.
The ensuing divisions among families and friends and the gradual revelation of his own circumstances lead Jehan to question his spiritual choices. He embarks on an odyssey, in pursuit of his life’s purpose and the meaning of love, that unfolds in a way he least expects. Deep in the enchanting Gorges du Tarn, he discovers his muse and soul mate, Amelia Auvrey, a free-spirited, mystic holy woman who offers guidance, revealing ancient healing practices and spiritual mysteries.
Along the way, they befriend young Huguenot peasants and inspirés, a Roma couple, and the Commandeur of the Knights of Saint Jean Hospitallers, and learn the legend of Jehan’s Jewish and Cathar ancestors. Together, Jehan and Amelia quest for peace and spiritual freedom by aiding the persecuted until the Intendant’s spy reports their activities and the King’s dragoons are sent out after them. To retain their freedom, they must choose to live in hiding in a remote wilderness, join a festering uprising, or fight against it, or flee their cherished homeland with thousands of other refugees in search of hope.
Inspired by the true story of Jean Pierre Bondurant dit Cougoussac, distilled and blended with Cévenole magic lore, this is an inspiring coming of age story and family saga of courage, tenacity, and the power of love in a country rife with divisions under the control of an authoritarian king obsessed with power.
Fans of Poldark, Magic Lessons, The Lost Apothecary, The Huguenot Chronicles Trilogy, and The Alchemist will find thematic elements from those stories melded into this thrilling and obscure slice of French history.
“AN ENGROSSING STORY about fiercely independent people... This ABSORBING TALE of religious strife creates a vivid world that will draw readers in... ”
~ Kirkus Review
"BRILLIANTLY TOLD. A story that will stick with you long after you've turned the last page. FRESH AND COMPELLING. As relevant now as it was then."
~ Janet Wertman, author of the Seymour Saga trilogy
"Larimore's LUSH, VIBRANT PROSE and SHARP EYE FOR HISTORICAL DETAIL at once transported me back to Occitan haunts and castles. A must-read for anyone who loves novels set in that alluring region of southern France."
~ Glen Craney, author of The Fire and the Light
"This story WILL CAPTURE YOU and not let go. History and DEFTLY-CRAFTED STORYTELLING rolled into one."
~ Rozsa Gaston, author of the Anne of Brittany Series
“WONDROUS FIRST NOVEL. Jules is an alchemist, drawing on the poetic power of words, assembling a colorful combination of characters to authentically explore the landscape of the human heart; its yearnings, boundaries, expectations and limitations.”
~ Elijah Alexander, actor (Atticus Aemillius on The Chosen TV series)
“INTRIGUING STORY... ranks right up there with Gabaldon's OUTLANDER & Auel's CLAN OF THE CAVEBEAR. I can't wait for the next volume to come out!!”
~ Eve B. Mayes, Amazon VINE VOICES five-star review
CHARACTERS ARE WELL-DEVELOPED AND LIKABLE, forming easy connections with the reader, and the structure... FLOWS BRILLIANTLY, providing a well-defined combination of history and escape... themes of love and acceptance stream through, along with a very enjoyable depiction of noble and rural life in 17th century France. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
~ Historical Fiction Company, five star award of excellence
“COMPELLING CHARACTERS... thought-provoking themes of religious freedom, love and loyalty, incredible fortitude, and courage in the face of persecution.”
~ Reader’s Favorite five-star review
“EXTRAORDINARY, WELL-WRITTEN... the mentioned remedies, as well as the pictorial scenes of the town life, the landscape, and the people, had an extraordinary impact on me...”
~ Goodreads five-star review - Germany
“A VERY PROMISING FIRST NOVEL where I escaped a hundred years before the French Revolution with delight, in tune with the perfumes, colors, and enchantments of Mother Nature!”
~ Goodreads five-star review - France
LANGUAGE IS EVOCATIVE AND SENSUAL... a joy to read.”
~ Goodreads five-star review
“YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE THERE. A very special historical novel... imbued within it not only history but notions of religious freedom, images of landscape and town life, and knowledge of late 17th century medical remedies... brought beautifully to life...”
~ Amazon five-star review
“BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN... filled with love for the story, the characters, and the setting. As a historian, I know the context of the tale, but it was brought beautifully to life by Jules Larimore’s detailed prose. A HIGHLY ENJOYABLE AND ABSORBING READ!”
~ Barnes & Noble five-star review
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Welcome! Join me in historical fiction with a dose of magic, myth, and romance, distilled and blended with captivating settings as inspirational backdrops.
These are stories of hope where courage, tenacity, transcendent vision, and the power of love are called upon to overcome oppression and dangerous divisions.
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