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Merchants of Virtue: A Historical Fiction Novel

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France, 1685. Jeanne is the wife of a once-wealthy merchant, but now she risks losing everything. Louis XIV’s soldiers will stop at nothing to forcibly convert the country’s Huguenots to Catholicism. The men ransack Jeanne’s belongings and threaten her children. "An extremely well-researched book, rich with history and big on heart. The story made me run a gamut of emo France, 1685. Jeanne is the wife of a once-wealthy merchant, but now she risks losing everything. Louis XIV’s soldiers will stop at nothing to forcibly convert the country’s Huguenots to Catholicism. The men ransack Jeanne’s belongings and threaten her children. "An extremely well-researched book, rich with history and big on heart. The story made me run a gamut of emotions along with the characters..." One by one, Jeanne watches her Protestant neighbors cave under the constant harassment. She and her husband resolve to keep their faith, but Jeanne wonders if the punishment for their defiance is more than she can bear…If Jeanne can’t find a way to evade the soldiers’ clutches, her family will face a fate worse than poverty and imprisonment. They may never see each other again…Merchants of Virtue is the first book in the Huguenot Connection, a series of historical fiction novels. If you like fast-paced adventure, rich layers of historical detail, and inspirational stories based on true events, then you’ll love Paul C.R. Monk’s stirring novel. Buy Merchants of Virtue to immerse yourself in a dangerous world today!


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France, 1685. Jeanne is the wife of a once-wealthy merchant, but now she risks losing everything. Louis XIV’s soldiers will stop at nothing to forcibly convert the country’s Huguenots to Catholicism. The men ransack Jeanne’s belongings and threaten her children. "An extremely well-researched book, rich with history and big on heart. The story made me run a gamut of emo France, 1685. Jeanne is the wife of a once-wealthy merchant, but now she risks losing everything. Louis XIV’s soldiers will stop at nothing to forcibly convert the country’s Huguenots to Catholicism. The men ransack Jeanne’s belongings and threaten her children. "An extremely well-researched book, rich with history and big on heart. The story made me run a gamut of emotions along with the characters..." One by one, Jeanne watches her Protestant neighbors cave under the constant harassment. She and her husband resolve to keep their faith, but Jeanne wonders if the punishment for their defiance is more than she can bear…If Jeanne can’t find a way to evade the soldiers’ clutches, her family will face a fate worse than poverty and imprisonment. They may never see each other again…Merchants of Virtue is the first book in the Huguenot Connection, a series of historical fiction novels. If you like fast-paced adventure, rich layers of historical detail, and inspirational stories based on true events, then you’ll love Paul C.R. Monk’s stirring novel. Buy Merchants of Virtue to immerse yourself in a dangerous world today!

30 review for Merchants of Virtue: A Historical Fiction Novel

  1. 4 out of 5

    Anam Cara

    When I saw this trilogy offered, I knew I had to read it because I have Hugeunot ancestors. I was hoping, since this is based on a true story, I was hoping to learn more about my ancestors. I downloaded a sample and then was offered to bean Advance Reader for my honest review. I admit that I was saddened a little by theme frame. The story takes place in 1685, By that time, all of my ancestors had made it to the New World and would not have suffered the exact persecutions that the Delpech family f When I saw this trilogy offered, I knew I had to read it because I have Hugeunot ancestors. I was hoping, since this is based on a true story, I was hoping to learn more about my ancestors. I downloaded a sample and then was offered to bean Advance Reader for my honest review. I admit that I was saddened a little by theme frame. The story takes place in 1685, By that time, all of my ancestors had made it to the New World and would not have suffered the exact persecutions that the Delpech family faced. But I know they suffered from stories handed down through our family. One of the ancestors, upon reaching Massachusetts, refused to ever allow French to be spoken in his home again! The story had a little slow start. Some of that is because the author knows how little history we modern Americans are aware of regarding Huguenots and France. Some of the names are similar and I struggled to keep people straight. At one point I considered, but did not, keeping a sort of notebook with people in it so that I could refer back when necessary. But almost as soon as I thought of that, the people all fell into place. The story was so compelling. I was in anguish for the people who refused to convert, but also for the suffering of soul that those who did abjure felt. I was spurred on to read more and more. How can this family survive? Jeanne and Jacob struggle to remain true to their faith, yet also protect their children. They were uncertain how best to do this and had to make difficult choices. My own ancestors, upon leaving France suddenly, had to leave a son behind who eventually made his way to going them in England. These struggles were very real! The Merchants of Virtue brings to life and allows us to suffer with them as they face their problems. When I think of my ancestor's stories, they are watered down some and while I knew they fled, I hadn't considered the hardships placed on them by having to travel undercover and how long it would take them to cover the distance required to get to safety. In my prayers this morning I remembered all those nameless saints who suffered and died for their faith! I am looking forward to reading Voyage of Malice! Update: I have finished Voyage of Malice. Is is better than the first book of the trilogy. Stick with these books and you will be rewarded for your time.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ Jenn Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ Schu

    2.5 stars

  3. 5 out of 5

    Loretta

    A compelling story about the persecution of the Huguenots. It made me wonder whether I would have shown the same courage.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer (JC-S)

    ‘The King’s intention is to eradicate all forms of religion, except Catholicism, naturally.’ The novel opens in France, on 19 August 1685, with Jeanne Delpech de Castanet enjoying a visit with her sister Suzanne. Jeanne and her family are Huguenots, her husband Jacob is a wealthy merchant. Their lives are about to change. First, a little background. Huguenot was the name given, in the early part of the 16th century, to French Protestants who followed the teachings of John Calvin. Although the Edic ‘The King’s intention is to eradicate all forms of religion, except Catholicism, naturally.’ The novel opens in France, on 19 August 1685, with Jeanne Delpech de Castanet enjoying a visit with her sister Suzanne. Jeanne and her family are Huguenots, her husband Jacob is a wealthy merchant. Their lives are about to change. First, a little background. Huguenot was the name given, in the early part of the 16th century, to French Protestants who followed the teachings of John Calvin. Although the Edict of Nantes guaranteed substantial religious, political and military autonomy in 1598, Huguenot rebellions in the 1620s led to the abolition of their political and military privileges. By 1685, under the rule of Louis XIV, persecution of Protestantism had increased. On 22 October 1685, Louis XIV issued the Edict of Fontainebleau which effectively ended the legal recognition of Protestantism in France and forced the Huguenots to either convert or flee France in a wave of violent dragonnades. What will Jeanne and Jacob do? Abjuring their faith is not seen as an option by Jeanne and Jacob although several of their neighbours and family members convert to Catholicism. Jeanne, Jacob and their family are subjected to hardship, and are separated. This novel is the first of a trilogy which tells their story. ‘What was to become of him and his sisters in this world gone mad?’ I enjoyed reading this novel, although I have one minor quibble. I’m not yet convinced that ‘boobs’ was in use as a word for breasts in the 17th century. I’m happy to be proved wrong. Boobs aside, I quickly became caught up in the story and want to know what will happen to Jeanne, Jacob and their children. While I was broadly aware of the plight of the Huguenots in 17th century France, this novel has made me think about how the persecution might have been experienced at an individual, family level. It’s a powerful story, fast-moving and well written. I’d recommend this novel to anyone interested in historical fiction set during this turbulent period in French history. I’m looking forward to the next two novels. Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  5. 5 out of 5

    Carlos Mock

    Merchants of Virtue (The Huguenot Connection Book 1) by Paul C.R. Monk Jeanne Delpech de Castanet and her family are French Protestant or Huguenots living in a Huguenot enclave, Montauban. It is 1685 and a Catholic king, James II rules England. This gives permission to Louis XIV, James' cousin, to invalidate the Edict of Nantes - which ended the religious wars of France and gave Protestants a right to freely worship in the country. As the edict is being replaced with the Edict of Fountainbleue - Merchants of Virtue (The Huguenot Connection Book 1) by Paul C.R. Monk Jeanne Delpech de Castanet and her family are French Protestant or Huguenots living in a Huguenot enclave, Montauban. It is 1685 and a Catholic king, James II rules England. This gives permission to Louis XIV, James' cousin, to invalidate the Edict of Nantes - which ended the religious wars of France and gave Protestants a right to freely worship in the country. As the edict is being replaced with the Edict of Fountainbleue - making Catholicism the only religion allowed in France, a set of persecutions are implemented by the king and the Church, forcing Huguenots to chose between their faith or their livelihoods. Jeanne and her husband, Jacob, refuse to convert and are forced into numerous tortures and humiliations. The book tells us the trials and suffering that they must endure. Narrated from a universal point of view, in British English, the book is definitively part one of a trilogy. It does not stand alone, simply because it's brought to an abrupt end. Never understood why writers would break up a perfect story in the middle of the plot. Especially when the book was so short I read it all at once. Characters are flat and other than their beliefs, you know almost nothing about them. They are but a name on a page. It's hard to really care for them when you know so little about them. Even though it was a very easy read, I would not recommend it or, for that matter, the series.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I received this book for free. I am voluntarily leaving this review and all opinions expressed herein are mine. This is the first three books in The Huguenot Connection Trilog series. It is a standalone story with no cliffhanger ending but it is a bit of an abrupt encing but it could be viewed as the start of the next story in the series. Here, the story takes place in France during the reign of King Louis XIV. The King, a Catholic, has decided that all of his people must be Catholic and swear a I received this book for free. I am voluntarily leaving this review and all opinions expressed herein are mine. This is the first three books in The Huguenot Connection Trilog series. It is a standalone story with no cliffhanger ending but it is a bit of an abrupt encing but it could be viewed as the start of the next story in the series. Here, the story takes place in France during the reign of King Louis XIV. The King, a Catholic, has decided that all of his people must be Catholic and swear an oath to that effect. The aristocratic Huguenots [Protestants] were pursued to change their religious affiliations in order to continue to thrive in society. Soldiers were ordered to move into the Huguenot households and take over - selling their belongings, eating their food and at times - raping/assaulting the women. This story centers on one family who struggles to maintain their religious freedom and to keep their family together. I love historical fiction books where real people, known facts and educated presumptions are deftly woven into a fictionalized plot with added fictionalized characters. And, I enjoyed this story, which allowed me to learn quite a bit of historical information from that time period. This is a heartbreaking yet compelling tale. I absolutely loved it and highly recommend it. I look forward to continuing the saga. I listened to this book - the narrator did a wonderful job conveying the period, the different characters/accents and bringing the story to life.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Beth Gibson

    I enjoyed this book much more than I expected to. Often times stories set in this era are slow-paced and too much like a medieval soap opera. Set in historical context of religious persecution, I can see many parallels in modern times. It also touches on something that I personally find disagreement with -- and that is religious conversion. I don't agree with it, especially when one faction over another makes promises about how you can get to heaven when they really know no such thing. This book I enjoyed this book much more than I expected to. Often times stories set in this era are slow-paced and too much like a medieval soap opera. Set in historical context of religious persecution, I can see many parallels in modern times. It also touches on something that I personally find disagreement with -- and that is religious conversion. I don't agree with it, especially when one faction over another makes promises about how you can get to heaven when they really know no such thing. This book fired that spark for me and I find myself cheering for the Depeche family to stick to their guns and seek freedom from oppression. This is, after all, what America was founded on. At the same time, I don't understand how you sacrifice your whole family to belong to the church you want to. After all in this situation both were Christian religions. They are just different methods of worship. This is also a comment on modern times, an attitude I just don't understand. And one that will continue to put people at odds with one another. The ending was a bit abrupt -- I expected a bit more closure, even though I knew going in there would be a part 2. Generally these type of stories are written a bit more to be read as stand alone. Looking forward to the next installment.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dean McIntyre

    MERCHANTS OF VIRTUE by Paul C.R. Monk is the first of a trilogy, THE HUGUENOT CONNECTION. Set in the last quarter of the 17th century, it chronicles the unfortunate circumstances of the Delpeche family in France under the intense and severe repression of King Louis XIV. The king has demanded all Protestants (Huguenots are French followers of John Calvin) give up their faith, convert to Catholicism, and sign and pledge their allegiance to the king. To bring this about, Huguenot citizens are force MERCHANTS OF VIRTUE by Paul C.R. Monk is the first of a trilogy, THE HUGUENOT CONNECTION. Set in the last quarter of the 17th century, it chronicles the unfortunate circumstances of the Delpeche family in France under the intense and severe repression of King Louis XIV. The king has demanded all Protestants (Huguenots are French followers of John Calvin) give up their faith, convert to Catholicism, and sign and pledge their allegiance to the king. To bring this about, Huguenot citizens are forced to house and feed the king's soldiers, who are intentionally brutal to those who refuse to give in to the king. They eat the food, drink the wine, take over the beds, destroy and burn the furniture for heat, sell off belongings including crops and livestock, and take advantage of female members of the family. And when the families have nothing left, the government, with the Church's blessing, often imprisons family members or sells them into slavery, with families divided and sent to different owners and locations, including America. The book describes these conditions in excruciating detail, and I can't say this is a pleasant read. Nevertheless, there is a good deal of history in the work. It's a quick read, just over 200 pages, and is a stand-alone volume in the trilogy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Beverly Laude

    My husband is of French Huguenot descent, so I was interested to learn more about their persecution under the rule of Louis XIV. Even though this fiction, I could definitely feel the horrors that were endured by the Huguenots. Religious persecution is nothing new and, unfortunately, it is still occurring today. The author does a great job in describing the conditions that were endured and the hardships that the Huguenots suffered because of their faith. Would I have the conviction of my beliefs i My husband is of French Huguenot descent, so I was interested to learn more about their persecution under the rule of Louis XIV. Even though this fiction, I could definitely feel the horrors that were endured by the Huguenots. Religious persecution is nothing new and, unfortunately, it is still occurring today. The author does a great job in describing the conditions that were endured and the hardships that the Huguenots suffered because of their faith. Would I have the conviction of my beliefs in the face of these hardships? This book really makes you think about that. The narrator does a great job and added a lot to my enjoyment of the book. This is the first book in a trilogy, so I was expecting a unresolved ending. The characters were well developed and the descriptions were well written. Thank you, Mr. Monk, for enlightening me and entertaining me at the same time. I look forward to continuing this wonderful historical saga with the rest of the trilogy. I was given the opportunity to listen to the audiobook version by the author and chose to review it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brett

    This was a book I read which I thought would be right out of my comfort zone, but thought I would persevere and do a review to inform those who would be the same as me and might get this on a whim. I thought it would be a hard book to read because it's not my genre and to be honest I did feel that way for the first few pages but to my great suprise I found myself transfixed even to the point of worrying about the delpech family. It's a great read with some amazing facts written into the text so This was a book I read which I thought would be right out of my comfort zone, but thought I would persevere and do a review to inform those who would be the same as me and might get this on a whim. I thought it would be a hard book to read because it's not my genre and to be honest I did feel that way for the first few pages but to my great suprise I found myself transfixed even to the point of worrying about the delpech family. It's a great read with some amazing facts written into the text so well your not only reading a great historical fact based fiction but being informed of historical events. I'm now starting the next book in the series which I'm thoroughly looking forward to reading and leaving my thoughts on that one too. I whole heartedly recommend this book for a great read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    Agreeable historical fiction, dealing with a subject less popular in anglophone fiction. Louis XIV’s persecution of the Huguenots, culminating in the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, damaged the economy of France, by targeting some of the most industrious families of the land, skilled craftsmen, professionals and merchants. The international reputation of France was also diminished, but Louis did not immediately set about mass burning of heretics, preferring to force conversions to Catholicism Agreeable historical fiction, dealing with a subject less popular in anglophone fiction. Louis XIV’s persecution of the Huguenots, culminating in the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, damaged the economy of France, by targeting some of the most industrious families of the land, skilled craftsmen, professionals and merchants. The international reputation of France was also diminished, but Louis did not immediately set about mass burning of heretics, preferring to force conversions to Catholicism by billeting rough soldiers, many of whom were mercenaries from outside France on the Calvinists, imposing financial penalties and restricting professional opportunities. That was just for starters.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    I learned a lot about Louis XIV and 1685, where Protestants were forced to convert to Christianity. As a Catholic, I was bothered about the mindset of the government and the church. Persecution of religion seems to never end, and it was sad to read about this one family who refused to convert to Christianity and kept to their own beliefs. There were so many that were tortured or inconvenienced in such a way that forced them to give in a sign over to the new religion. Many just signed not to be h I learned a lot about Louis XIV and 1685, where Protestants were forced to convert to Christianity. As a Catholic, I was bothered about the mindset of the government and the church. Persecution of religion seems to never end, and it was sad to read about this one family who refused to convert to Christianity and kept to their own beliefs. There were so many that were tortured or inconvenienced in such a way that forced them to give in a sign over to the new religion. Many just signed not to be harassed but the ones who kept true to their faith were treated terribly.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michael Graves

    not sure if this is the book Im reading. I am on page 534 of 752. Maybe because I have the whole trilogy on my kindle. I am really enjoying it. I am not very familiar with late 17th century goins on, and it is quite shocking to dee how much cruelty and barbarism there was. It is a little melodramatic in its overall plot. If you meet a minor character early in the book, he/she may re emerge later in the book. Like Dickens. Will write update when finished.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mary E. Nichols

    Huguenot History I'm enjoying the unfolding story of this time period. It is new information to me. I like the characters very well and am rooting for them. The one negative I have in the writing is that there are times the vocabulary is crass and seems out of place when considering the narrative is about religious people. In spite of that, I am looking forward to the next volume. Huguenot History I'm enjoying the unfolding story of this time period. It is new information to me. I like the characters very well and am rooting for them. The one negative I have in the writing is that there are times the vocabulary is crass and seems out of place when considering the narrative is about religious people. In spite of that, I am looking forward to the next volume.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    This trilogy allows one to look into the clash between Protestants and Catholics in France and somewhat in Great Britain. Traversing the time period of 1685 to about 1695, a family is faced with unbelievable forces that compel them to choose between family, faith an county. I loved the history embedded in this trilogy, but felt the last book was the weakest in the series. I did learn so much about this time period however.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Fantastic, extensive research went into the writing of this book. Unfortunately, the conversations and descriptions are somewhat stilted, but it moves along fast enough that it can be ignored. There are few fictional books I've found about the Huguenots and the Catholics, this is a fascinating read about a family torn apart by government, and their religious strength that encourages them to hold fast to their beliefs. 3/5 stars. Fantastic, extensive research went into the writing of this book. Unfortunately, the conversations and descriptions are somewhat stilted, but it moves along fast enough that it can be ignored. There are few fictional books I've found about the Huguenots and the Catholics, this is a fascinating read about a family torn apart by government, and their religious strength that encourages them to hold fast to their beliefs. 3/5 stars.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Annemarie

    I really enjoyed this read about the struggles of the Protestants in France. I often don't me the mix of languages but in this case the use of French words made perfect sense so I didn't mind. The story is super interesting and at times baffling. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series. I really enjoyed this read about the struggles of the Protestants in France. I often don't me the mix of languages but in this case the use of French words made perfect sense so I didn't mind. The story is super interesting and at times baffling. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ginger Pollard

    This is a good historical book about the time of King James II. The King wanted the people to all be Catholic. This made for a hard time for the Huguenots. It tells of their struggles to practice their own religious beliefs. It's a book that you have to pay close attention or you will get lost. I look forward to reading book two in the series. This is a good historical book about the time of King James II. The King wanted the people to all be Catholic. This made for a hard time for the Huguenots. It tells of their struggles to practice their own religious beliefs. It's a book that you have to pay close attention or you will get lost. I look forward to reading book two in the series.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Historical Fiction about Protestant suffrage in France This was a good read. It was about the Protestants being forced to convert in France. It told of one's family's trials and sufferings. How they were split apart and the mothers and father's journeys. They went from wealth to poverty. I enjoyed reading this book. I voluntarily reviewed this book after received a free copy. Historical Fiction about Protestant suffrage in France This was a good read. It was about the Protestants being forced to convert in France. It told of one's family's trials and sufferings. How they were split apart and the mothers and father's journeys. They went from wealth to poverty. I enjoyed reading this book. I voluntarily reviewed this book after received a free copy.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Karen Ball

    Trials of a family It is well written and tells the story of religious persecution in 17th century France. A wealthy family refuses to convert and lose everything. How the family reacts to the situations. The characters are torn apart, yet they find ways to overcome the circumstances. I loved how the adjusted to their life, always thinking of their family Well done.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Willie. Van Den Hoek

    An Amazing book I lovex this book as it is a story close tomy heart .My Fathers family came from the Huguenots and they ended up in The Netherlands. Sufering so much for their faith . I myself was brought up in Reformed church in Holland where my Father was a minister.So thjs story gave me a background of my ancesters. Excellent story

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rick Mitchell

    There are novels that invite sequels, but this book just stops. Still, it is pretty good and is a setting not often - if ever - for novels. It follows the oppression of the French Huguenots, particularly one family. There is enough there that I will go on to the next, but I hope the pace picks up a tad

  23. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Very well written and compelling book, I truly enjoyed reading it. The depth of the characters, the loyalty to religious beliefs and love of family was inspiring. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historic fiction.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Quilting Tangent

    Wonderful! Read it! Read about what life was like for the Huguenot's (Lutherans) of France in 1685 under King Louis XIV's rule. Experience life through the Delpech family. The story is so real and touching. Wonderful! Read it! Read about what life was like for the Huguenot's (Lutherans) of France in 1685 under King Louis XIV's rule. Experience life through the Delpech family. The story is so real and touching.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Vera G

    Devotion As I read this book about what people went through for religious freedom our America is having riots and covid 19 is effecting our lives. We are still better off than the protestants in France in the1600's. I am looking forward to the next two books. Devotion As I read this book about what people went through for religious freedom our America is having riots and covid 19 is effecting our lives. We are still better off than the protestants in France in the1600's. I am looking forward to the next two books.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katherine L.

    I liked the book and would have given it five stars, but it wasn’t finished. I hate books that leave you hanging on the outcome. Each book in a trilogy should be a complete story. Others can describe the plot.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gregory

    Based on a true story. Solid historical fiction and story telling, set in an era that is certainly not new to me, but one that I have not spent a great amount of time reading about. I will definitely be looking forward to following the saga in Books 2 and 3 of the series.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sadie VanderKodde

    A heartbreaking piece of history that reads more like a history book than a novel. I appreciated the research that went into the book, but was disappointed by the storytelling. I don't think I'll read the next two books in the series. A heartbreaking piece of history that reads more like a history book than a novel. I appreciated the research that went into the book, but was disappointed by the storytelling. I don't think I'll read the next two books in the series.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jason Atkinson

    What a fantastic book! I rarely read fiction, but this was a great historical story about the persecution of the Huguenots in France. I look forward to the next installation Voyage of Malice.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    It's OK, obviously leads right to the 2nd book which I just started Will reserve review til I have "the rest of the story" to see if the ending of this one makes any sense It's OK, obviously leads right to the 2nd book which I just started Will reserve review til I have "the rest of the story" to see if the ending of this one makes any sense

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