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. A journey, deep into the heart of the Cevennes in search of guidance, unfolds in a way he least expects when he enters the enchanting Gorges du Tarn. There, he discovers his muse, Amelia Auvrey, a free-spirited, mystic holy woman who reveals ancient healing practices and spiritual mysteries.
Together they 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 against the persecutions, 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 a vividly told coming-of-age adventure and family saga of courage, tenacity, and the power of love.
Fans of Poldark, Magic Lessons, The Lost Apothecary, The Huguenot Chronicles, and The Alchemist will find thematic elements from those stories melded into this thrilling and obscure slice of French history.
About the Author
Jules Larimore is the author of emotive, literary-leaning historical fiction with a dose of magic, myth, and romance to bring to life hopeful human stories and inspire positive change. She lives primarily in Ojai, California, with time spent around the U.S. and Europe gathering a rich repository of historical research in a continued search for authenticity.
As a former Executive Editor with over 20 years experience editing and positioning bestselling and award-winning fiction and nonfiction for Macmillan, Harpercollins, Penguin Random House, and Simon and Schuster, Laurie helped me by looking at structure, characters, motivations, voice, timeline, setting, and consistency of detail, then dove into word choice, use of metaphor, prevention of redundant words or passages, tightening, and awkward phrases. In short, she was a treasure in helping to develop The Muse of Freedom into a professional, polished manuscript.
"Brilliantly told, it's a story that will stick with you long after you've turned the last page . . . a story that is fresh and compelling and as relevant now as it was then." Janet Wertman, award-winning author of the Seymour Saga trilogy: Jane the Quene, The Path to Somerset, and The Boy King
"Jules Larimore's lush, vibrant prose and sharp eye for historical detail at once transported me back to Occitan haunts and castles. This is a must-read for anyone who loves novels set in that alluring region of southern France." Glen Craney, award-winning author of The Fire and the Light, The Spider and the Stone, The Cotillion Brigade and more
"This story will capture you and not let go. History and deftly-crafted storytelling rolled into one." Rozsa Gaston, author of the award-winning four-book Anne of Brittany Series
"A very readable historical novel based on the early life of our immigrant ancestor, Jean Pierre Bondurant, before he left France. The Muse of Freedom gives the reader a deep insight into the trials and tribulations that young 'Jehan BonDurant' endured under the restrictions of the Catholic church during the late 1600s. His parents and grandparents had been active in the Huguenot faith until the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by France's King Louis XIV forced the citizens to follow the rules of the Catholic church." Eve B. Mayes, editor for the Bondurant Family Association