The Burning Chambers opens in Carcassonne in 1562, after a prologue entices us - set in a graveyard under the fierce Cape sun in Franschhoek.
Minou Joubert is 19, running her father's bookshop, and taking care of her younger brother and sister. It's a lot of responsibility, and she takes it all in her stride. The protestants are fighting with the catholics, and there are soldiers on every corner, curfews and locking of city gates at night and raids during the day.
In the shadows and the pubs, men gather and discuss plots and subterfuge, and Minou receives a note - SHE KNOWS THAT YOU LIVE, which means nothing to her. She also meets a huguenot - Piet Raydon, who needs her help.
The action moves to Toulouse, at the children's aunt's home, where the conflict and the bloodshed continues. As does the mystery of who SHE is, which involves family history, secrets kept for generations and a great degree of intrigue.
It's as beautiful as its pretty cover, steeped in fascinating history of the religious wars in France, and the first in a new series, which may just bring us to Franschhoek, South Africa. I can't wait.
I thoroughly enjoyed it.
You may also enjoy Kate Quinn's The Alice Network, or Mistress of Rome.
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