Saturday, October 10, 2009

Travel to Versailles with Me

There’s something about the writing of Golden Keyes Parsons that speaks deep to my soul. Her journeys through history never fail to leave me in a cathartic pool of tears. Her new release, Prisoner of Versailles, is certainly no exception.

Prisoner of Versailles is the second in the Darkness to Light trilogy, and like its predecessor, In the Shadow of the Sun King, takes place in the majestic court of Louis XIV. I have to admit, I love all things French. I had the pleasure of visiting Versailles last year, and Golden’s books sweep me right back to the grandeur and elegance of the historic palace.

In part one of the series, we are introduced to the beautiful Madeleine Clavell who is caught in the struggles between the Catholics and French Huguenots. Madeline risks going to court and gambling on her former relationship with the king in hopes of saving her home and family from dire persecution.

The story continues in book two as Madeleine and her eldest son, Phillipe, are imprisoned within the glamorous walls of Versailles. Outmaneuvered by the magnificent sun king who wants her for himself, and convinced that God has abandoned her, Madeline feels she has no option but to turn to her own plans and save her family.

Rest assured that these books come with a hearty helping of romance and dashing heroes amidst the adventure and intrigue, although I don’t want to say too much and give the story away.
The characters in these stories ring so true to me. I particularly love Madeline’s children. Golden’s experience as a mother and grandmother is evident in the way she portrays the hopes, fears, and potential of these children, along with their special gift of child-like faith. In one scene, Madeleine’s six-year-old daughter Vangie is caught playing with her dolls. “We have to have faith that Maman and Phillipe are going to come back to us,” she says to her playthings, long after the adults had given into despair.

Golden issues a challenge: dare to take God seriously. Her heart of a pastor shines through her plots, ministering wisdom and truth to her readers. The part of this novel that particularly ministered to me was a quote from the early chapters as handsome courtier Pierre Bovee cries out to God, “Will I ever learn to seek your direction first, instead of making my own plans and then asking you to bless them?” This insightful question echoes what God has been speaking in my own church and small group over the last month, and the concept behind the question was reinforced throughout story.

Upon reading my review, Golden shared that: I believe Christians have struggled with the same issues down through the ages ... pride, a desire to be in control, independence from God. Sometimes we portray characters from former times a little more angelic than I believe they should be characterized.

Perhaps the most important message of the book, however, is that even when we give up on God, He still never gives up on us. I adored the way God’s mercy and grace chased after Madeleine. I can’t help but think it was the prayers of her children that saw her through to the end.

To which Golden said: Oh, I am so glad that message came through! When Madeleine was ready to compromise and give in to the tempting offer of the king, God still made a way for her to escape ... because He knew her heart. She was his child, and nothing would change that. And I hope that her repentance scene rang true as well.

I look forward to the next installment of the Darkness to Light saga in fall 2010.

Have you ever had a time when you gave up on God, but he didn’t give up on you? Have you asked God to bless your plans or have you asked for His plans in your life?

Golden should be stopping by today. Feel free to leave thoughts and questions for her.

If you would like to win your very own copy of Prisoner of Versailles or In the Shadow of the Sun King leave a comment on today’s post. Be sure to leave your email address so we can contact the winner. Add spaces around the @ for your protection. Winner will be drawn at random on October 13th.

Dina Sleiman at Versailles


  1. I had the pleasure of meeting Golden at the ACFW conference. First of all, she's just as beautiful and full of grace and warmth as you'd expect. It's like a blanket around her and you feel too.

    I can't tell you how I look forward to reading this book. Well, even more now after your review, Dina. I bought the Prisoner of Versailles at the booksigning. It's at the top of my TBR pile.

    And, I can assure readers that as I get to know both Dina and Golden on our various writer's loops, they do truly have a heart for God, a desire to please Him above all else and it will show in their writing.

    Remember, dear visitors, you gotta leave your email addresses to be in the drawings.

  2. I loved In the Shadow of the Sun King and cannot wait to read this one!


  3. I'm looking forward to reading the comments regarding your wonderful review, Dina. Thank you so much. I love the picture of you at Versailles :)

  4. Great insights Dina,
    It hit home when you mentioned that we give up on God but He never give up on us. At the end of the day His plans are best for us.
    Love you.
    Dani (husband)

  5. Thanks, Dina. Golden's books are in my "to read" stack! Can't wait to get to them!

  6. I loved In the Shadow of the Sun King, and so did everyone I shared it with. Bought Prisoner of Versailles at the conference and then (with great difficulty) sent it off to mom-in-law overseas. I have to get another copy ASAP so I can read it.

  7. Dina and Golden, I really enjoyed your comments and insights! I've heard nothing but good things about Golden's new book and can't wait to read it!

  8. Hi All,

    Sorry I didn't visit much today. I wasn't feeling great. Thanks for all the kind comments. I hope you enjoy the book.


  9. Great review, Dina. I actually have In the Shadow of the Sun King in my TBR pile. I'm looking forward to reading it especially because after doing my genealogy last year I learned my father's family on his paternal side were descended from French Huguenots who had to flee France during the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. Love the picture of you at Versailles, and I'm trying really hard not to be jealous. I will get there someday.

  10. Maybe we should all plan a writer getaway to Versailles!!! I'd be up for that :)

  11. Oh my what a terrific looking series!!! I love any kind of historical and lately I've been drawn to books dealing with European kings and courts! I haven't read anything by Golden yet but I'd love to start with In the Shadow of the Sun King! Please enter me!

    Thank you!
    xoxo~ Renee

  12. Golden, I am so there! I just need about 5 years to save for it. LOL! By the way, your name is lovely.

  13. I'm so up for another trip to Versailles :)

    Renee, I grew up in Pittsburgh and I was raised to be a "Steeler Girl" too, but it looks like you're doing a much better job.


  14. Lovely review, Dina. I can't wait to read this book. What a rich story, and I've heard nothing but good things about it.

    And Dina, I love your hat in your photo!

  15. In the Shadow of the Sun King is one of my favorite books and I look forward to this one also.

    I like for authors to write in different genres rather than being known for only one era or genre. I would think it would keep them challenged and their writing fresh and interesting.

    Thank you so much for the giveaway.

    cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

  16. The winner of Golden's book is Renee. Congrats. I'll contact you by email.


  17. Thanks again everybody for your input and kind comments. I hope you are carried away on an adventure as you read "Prisoner of Versailles" and stay tuned for Book Three, "When Hearts Are Free" in the Fall of 2010. Blessings to all!


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