Book Tour Review: Promised to the Crown by Aimie K. Runyan

Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Title: Promised to the Crown
Author: Aimie K. Runyan
Genre: historical fiction
Series: Daughters of New France #1
Pages: 352
Published: April 2016
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review
Rating: 3/5

In her illuminating debut novel, Aimie K. Runyan masterfully blends fact and fiction to explore the founding of New France through the experiences of three young women who, in 1667, answer Louis XIV’s call and journey to the Canadian colony.They are known as the filles du roi, or “King’s Daughters”—young women who leave prosperous France for an uncertain future across the Atlantic. Their duty is to marry and bring forth a new generation of loyal citizens. Each prospective bride has her reason for leaving—poverty, family rejection, a broken engagement. Despite their different backgrounds, Rose, Nicole, and Elisabeth all believe that marriage to a stranger is their best, perhaps only, chance of happiness.

Once in Quebec, Elisabeth quickly accepts baker Gilbert Beaumont, who wants a business partner as well as a wife. Nicole, a farmer’s daughter from Rouen, marries a charming officer who promises comfort and security. Scarred by her traumatic past, Rose decides to take holy vows rather than marry. Yet no matter how carefully she chooses, each will be tested by hardship and heartbreaking loss—and sustained by the strength found in their uncommon friendship, and the precarious freedom offered by their new home.

Through these three different women and their three different teenage and adult lives, Aimie K. Runyan's historical fiction novel explores what life would have been like for "the King's Daughters" in New France during the mid 1600s. It makes for an interesting premise and also has the benefit of being one I haven't seen used before in this popular and far-reaching genre. Debut author Runyan makes able use of her fresh settings and these clear perspectives; Promised to the Crown is an entertaining and engaging read with a wide range of experiences for its characters and readers

Coming from various backgrounds, life as colonists in French Canada is understandably a struggle for all the women featured in Promised to the Crown: Rose, Elisabeth, and Nicole. Though none had an easy life before traveling to the New World  at the behest of their King (in fact their lives before are key reasons why they chose to leave all they knew behind) each encounters a wide array of troubles and tribulations once they arrive in Quebec. It was a hard life, especially for women who were expected to adhere to society rules all the while tying to eke out some semblance of normalcy in a wilderness. Each woman balances their experiences in this new life differently, but the friendship between them ties them all together organically. 

I liked the plot and the characters, but this is also a novel that doesn't contain much depth. It feels and reads superficially; I know how Rose feels and acts because she directly states it when it's her POV. I know that Nicole dreams of Manon staying because Nicole directly thinks it. The writing style in Promised to the Crown simply shows more than it tells, and that affects how the characters are developed and thus, how they connect with the readers. It's a remote kind of narration, no matter who the POV belongs to, and that in turn makes it hard for the story to have any kind of real impact. It's a fast read because the book also moves along quite (almost too) quickly, but it feels shallow

A debut novel and the launch of a new series, Promised to the Crown makes for an interesting read with a fresh idea and a lot of potential. The story's premise and setting are its biggest selling points here in book one, but the author's simple style makes it hard for this to stand out amongst the competition in the genre. I wasn't completely wowed by this book, but it was strong enough to intrigue me in seeing how the author develops the next set of female main characters in its sequel,  Duty to the Crown

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, April 26
Review at Historical Fiction Addicts

Wednesday, April 27
Review at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, April 28
Interview at Book Nerd
Interview at Books and Benches

Friday, April 29
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Saturday, April 30
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, May 2
Review at A Book Drunkard

Tuesday, May 3
Review at Seize the Words: Books in Review

Wednesday, May 4
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Interview at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, May 5
Review at Reading Is My SuperPower

Friday, May 6
Review at Puddletown Reviews

Monday, May 9
Review at Cynthia Robertson, writer

Tuesday, May 10
Review at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, May 11
Review at Creating Herstory

Thursday, May 12
Interview at Creating Herstory
Interview at Author Dianne Ascroft’s Blog 

Monday, May 16
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Tuesday, May 17
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Thursday, May 19
Interview at The Book Connection

Monday, May 23
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, May 24
Review at A Holland Reads

Wednesday, May 25
Review at Curling up by the Fire

Thursday, May 26
Review at Just One More Chapter

Friday, May 27
Review at Bookramblings

Monday, May 30
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, May 31
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

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