Quebec may seem a lone bastion of civilization in the frozen north, but it's a vibrant city with culture, sophistication, and a surprisingly active nightlife. In my time there, I learned that the Quebecois will drop everything to go outside when the sun graces the city, and summer is one long party with one festival after the other. The cuisine is hearty, and reminiscent of what you will find in the northwest of France--Normandy and Brittany to be exact. It makes a lot of sense when you consider that most of the male settlers came from those regions, grew the crops they'd grown up with, and asked their (often Parisian) wives to make the dishes of their youth. Be sure to check out the Place Royale, which is still very much as it was in the 1600s. Aside from the gorgeous architecture, that part of town houses some of the quaintest shops and chicest restaurants in town.
Our second stop on the tour brings us to Quebec City in the year 1667. It was a fledgeling settlement then, but now is a bustling hub of tourism, and the province of Quebec is the largest outpost of French Speakers in North America. In fact, Montreal is the largest French-speaking city outside of France, and the third largest in the world!
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.
Aimie K. Runyan is an author of Historical fiction whose purpose is to celebrate history’s unsung heroines. Her debut novel, PROMISED TO THE CROWN, the story of three women sent by Louis XIV to help colonize his Quebec colony, was a ten-years-in-the-making labor of love. She loves baking, travel, hiking, and all things sacred unto nerd culture. She lives outside Denver with her loving husband and two adorable children.