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Huguenot Garden Paperback – June 1, 1995
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About the Author
Douglas Jones is the senior editor Credenda/Agenda magazine and a fellow of philosophy at New St. Andrews College, Moscow, Idaho. He is also author of the children's books Scottish Seas and Dutch Color. Huguenot Garden received a 1995 C.S. Lewis Noteworthy Children's Book Honor.
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Top Customer Reviews
The heroes are twin french girls in La Rochelle, France, 1685. I'm guessing they are around 6-8 years old (the book doesn't tell). Two of their great joys are caring for their lamb "Boucle" and tending a small plot of land where they grow flowers and vegetables. Their parents actively teach them about the Lord. There are many sweet glimpses into every day life, from trampling grapes at their cousin's farm in the country to running errands in town with their older brother. There's also a childbirth, visits from dragoons, psalm singing, secretive night journeys, and more.
The backdrop of this book is the persecution of the French Huegenots by Louis XIV and the Roman church. While this could have been quite a fearful subject, Jones has chosen to underscore God's faithfulness rather than the tyranny of men.
I would recommend this as a very readable story that introduces children to the overarching theme of persecution and particularly, what the Huguenots endured. The girls with their family ultimately find safe haven in Southampton, England.
I did find some portions a little pedantic, as another reviewer mentioned, but my children didn't seem to mind. As a parent, this kind of picture of godly family life is a great encouragement.
It would be interesting to follow up with research about the siege on the Huguenots which occurred fifty some years earlier at La Rochelle (rather callously described in Dumas' The Three Musketeers).
I give this book 5 stars but I can't seem to get the stars to click past 4 on this.
However, Renee and Albret still experience mocking and teasing from other children for being Protestant. And now the new King Louis XIV has revoked the Edict of Nantes with the Edict of Fontainebleau, declaring Protestantism illegal. He is sending his soldiers or dragoons to La Rochelle to tear down churches, destroy homes, arrest ministers, and try to force people to convert to Catholicism. What will happen to the Martineaus and their relatives? Will they suffer from the persecution? Or will they be able to escape? Huguenot Garden is a children’s story which follows the twins and the rest of the Martineau family as they work, worship, commune, and suffer persecution together. There are a few items of Calvinistic Reformed theology, such as baptizing babies and calling the minister “pastor,” with which some believers would disagree, but the book is quite beneficial on several levels. The story aims to portray sweet glimpses into the everyday life of this seventeeth-century, French Protestant family, and it is always nice to read about a family in which people truly love and care for one another in spite of their troubles.
Yet, beyond this, the book serves as a gentle, kid-level introduction for children to the ungentle theme of persecution, which could have been quite a fearful subject, but does so without scaring them, being neither sugar-coated nor too graphically horrific. The author has chosen to underscore God’s faithfulness rather than the tyranny of men. Douglas Jones is the senior editor Credenda/Agenda magazine, a fellow of philosophy at New St. Andrews College, Moscow, ID, and the author of the children’s books Scottish Seas and Dutch Color. Huguenot Garden received a 1995 C.S. Lewis Noteworthy Children’s Book Honor. Finally, there is the historic value. Louis XIV’s actions caused as many as 400,000 to flee France and move to Great Britain, Prussia, the Dutch Republic, Switzerland, South Africa, and the new French colonies in North America. A whole section of my home county was settled by the descendents of French Huguenot refugees, including the ancestors of my fifth grade teacher Odile Morgan.