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Huguenot Inheritance Series #9: The Baron of Salgas / The Cross and the Crown / The Carpenter of Nîmes

By Sabine Malplach (The Baron of Salgas) and Deborah Alcock (the other two stories)
Inheritance Publications

Box 366
Pella, IA 50219

The history of Christianity is full of tales of inspirational and sacrificial faithfulness. Sometimes it's hard to imagine making the choices that were forced upon early Protestants. As there are claims that nearly 30 percent of the North American population may have Huguenot blood in their veins, these stories seem even more relevant.

The Cross and the Crown, the first story in the collection, describes life in France after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, which made practicing anything but Roman Catholicism illegal. The main character, Gabriel Vaur, tells of his noble and Christian upbringing: "My claim to honour is not the result of noble birth, it is one they share with me - that to us it was given, not only to believe in Christ, but also to suffer for His name." His life was challenged by political and religious upheaval, including a pivotal time when he was sent to help another family without knowing if he'd ever see his father, sister, and brother again.

The true story of the Baron and Baroness de Salgas is captured in The Baron of Salgas. It begins as a beautiful love story between a man and a woman. Although both were Huguenots at heart, the Baron kept his outward appearance in compliance with the new law and ordered his wife to do the same. But the young Baroness wasn't easily persuaded to live a lie because she knew that denying her Savior was the wrong choice. Believing that her husband would soon follow, the Baroness made the heart-wrenching choice to leave her children behind and escape to Geneva. The rest of the account tracks her remarkable and steadfast faith and ultimately that of her husband.

In five short chapters, the last of the tales, The Carpenter of Nîmes, tells of another faithful follower and servant of Christ in the time of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Jacques Maderon is filled with grief and remorse when another man, a man who spoke eloquently and fervently about the blessed Savior, was imprisoned for disobeying the new laws. Jacques felt that he should have been taken instead, that he had nothing to offer "the cause" and that it was a waste for him to be free and the other man imprisoned . . . that is, until a pastor told him that Christ was telling him, "Son, go work in my vineyard." With those instructions, Jacques soon discovered that his skills could be used for the Huguenot cause--but not without substantial risk.

The three stories, which make up the final installment of the Huguenot Inheritance Series, make the time period come to life. They weren't about anonymous characters in a faraway land but realistic men and women who had faith in our here-and-now God. The laws and their enforcement were brutal, but many Christians continued to make God-pleasing decisions. These heroes are worthy of study.

Because it is broken up into three sections, the book is easy to read. Because of its content and some of the scenes depicted, I'd recommend it for middle school and above. The characters and their adventures are interesting and relatable. This trio of tales could be incorporated into a study of Christian history, world history, or Christian character or used as an interesting literary study.

Pros: Putting faces and feelings into historical facts is always helpful. These three journeys were captivating and inspiring, and they whet my appetite for learning more about the era. I am excited to share these with my kids.

Cons: Although learning about historical events is important for all, this book and the others in the series will be most appreciated by Christians.

Building a library of important books is the goal of many homeschoolers. The Huguenot Inheritance Series is worthy of the shelf space. After reading the three stories in this volume, I look forward to delving into the other volumes as well.

Product review by Krystin Corneilson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April 2011

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