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Find Me in the Stars – welcoming Ms Larimore and her Huguenots to my blog!

Today, I am hosting Jules Larimore as part of her ongoing blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club. Ms Larimore’s book, Find me in the Stars, is set in the late 17th/early 18th century and details the life and woes of French Huguenots in the Cévennes area . Frequent visitors to my blog know I find the issue of religion—especially the huge upheaval that followed on the Protestant Reformation—fascinating. I also find that the more I read, the more I realise just how complicated the European religious landscape was in the 17th century: The Protestant movement splintering into various factions—some extremely fanatic, some less so—while the Catholic Church launched the Counter Reformation—and a bloody affair that was—further spicing things up with a very active Inquisition.

I am therefore delighted to have Ms Larimore write a guest post about some of the religious conflicts, in this case among the French Huguenots!

More about the guest post later. First, allow me to introduce Ms Larimore’s book!

Find me in the Stars

Blurb:
 “Larimore’s ability to engulf a reader into a tale… is brilliantly done.”

5-star Highly Recommended Award of Excellence ~ Historical Fiction Company

Separated by miles, connected by the stars, two healers forge their destinies in a quest for a brighter tomorrow.

Inspired by a true story, this refugee’s tale of sacrifice, separation, and abiding love unfolds in the Cévennes Mountains of Languedoc, France, 1697. A sweeping adventure during the time of Louis XIV’s oppressive rule and persecutions, this compelling narrative follows the intertwined destinies of two remarkable protagonists, Amelia Auvrey, a mystic holy-woman healer, and Jehan BonDurant, an apothecary from a noble Huguenot family, in a riveting tale of enduring love, faith, and the search for light in the darkest of times.

Amelia and Jehan are fierce champions of tolerance and compassion in their cherished Cévenole homeland, a region plagued by renewed persecution of Huguenots. The escalated danger forces their paths to diverge, each embarking on their own dangerous journey toward survival and freedom. The Knights Hospitaller provide protection and refuge for Amelia and her ailing sage-femme grandmother, even as they come under suspicion of practicing witchcraft. And, to avoid entanglement in a brewing rebellion, Jehan joins a troupe of refugees who flee to the Swiss Cantons seeking sanctuary—a journey that challenges his faith and perseverance. Jehan arrives to find things are not as he expected; the Swiss have their own form of intolerance, and soon immigrants are no longer welcome. The utopian Eden he seeks remains elusive until he learns of a resettlement project in the New World.

During their time apart, Amelia and Jehan rely on a network of booksellers to smuggle secret letters to each other—until the letters mysteriously cease, casting doubt on their future together. Jehan is unclear if Amelia will commit to joining him, or if she will hold fast to her vow of celibacy and remain in the Cévennes. Seemingly ill-fated from the start, their love is tested to its limits as they are forced to navigate a world where uncertainty and fear threaten to eclipse their unwavering bond.

As a stand-alone sequel to the award-winning The Muse of Freedom, a bestseller in Renaissance Fiction, Find Me in the Stars is based on true events in the life of Jean Pierre Bondurant dit Cougoussac—an unforgettable adventure where love and light endure against all odds.

Buy Links:

This title will be available on #KindleUnlimited.

Universal Buy Link: https://books2read.com/u/31B6PM

And now onto that guest post. I really enjoyed it, especially as I learned something new – I had never heard of Pierre Bayle or Pierre Jureau before. Let’s just say I find one of them far more sympathetic than the other. . . With that, over to Ms Larimore!

*****

Protestantism in France has existed in its various forms since the Reformation, starting with Calvinism and Lutheranism. Known as Huguenots, the followers of John Calvin and the Reformed Church of France became the major Protestant sect in France. A large portion of the population died in massacres or became refugees—like the characters in my new book Find Me in the Stars: a Cévenoles Sagas novel—following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV in 1685.

There is a tendency to think that all Huguenots were of like mind, yet during the late 17th century, when my Huguenot trilogy novels take place, the most dramatic tensions between Protestants were spurred on by differences in philosophies between two notable influencers—Pierre Bayle and Pierre Jureau. While Bayle called for toleration, Jurieu preached holy war.

Pierre Bayle

Pierre Bayle was a French Huguenot philosopher, author, lexicographer, and educator. He fled France for Rotterdam in 1681 when the Protestant University of Sedan—where he was chair of philosophy—was suppressed by Louis XIV’s government. He was quickly appointed professor of philosophy and history at the École Illustre in Rotterdam.

Bayle was a notable advocate of religious toleration, and his sceptical philosophy had a significant influence on the subsequent growth and development of the European Age of Enlightenment. He advanced arguments for religious toleration in his Dictionnaire historique et critique and Commentaire Philosophique, and rejected the use of scripture to justify coercion and violence, saying:

One must transcribe almost the whole New Testament to collect all the Proofs it affords us of that Gentleness and Long-suffering, which constitute the distinguishing and essential Character of the Gospel.

His work defended the integrity of Scripture against Christian clergy, Calvinists included, whom he accused of abusing the Bible to justify persecution. Bayle insisted on universal toleration for all religions, Christian or otherwise, and acceptance of upright atheists.

A correct life is more important than a correct belief. The best creed will not save the soul from damnation if its deeds have been evil.

He proposed a doctrine of mutual toleration under which those who disagree on matters of faith are entitled to try to persuade each other of what each takes to be the truth, but not entitled to force an opponent’s alleged erring conscience to convert to an alleged true faith.

Pierre Jurieu

Bayle’s writings not only created controversy but also stirred the envy and enmity of Pierre Jurieu, Bayle’s Calvinist colleague, a professor of Divinity at both Sedan and Rotterdam.

Jurieu was violently opposed to universal toleration as an “indifference of creeds”. He immediately wrote a response to Bayle’s publications.

Such a doctrine is… pernicious… a conspiracy against truth.”

In Jurieu’s eyes, Bayle embodied religious heresy by speaking up for toleration of all religions and political betrayal, claiming Bayle was complicit with the French court. Jurieu readily entered into disputes with other fellow Protestants as well when their opinions differed from his own, even on minor matters.

Jurieu maintained the right of rebellion. He turned for consolation to the Apocalypse, and persuaded himself that the overthrow of the Antichrist (i.e. the Pope) would take place in 1689, which never happened. He regularly published and distributed pamphlets called Lettres Pastorales, of which great numbers circulated in France encouraging Huguenots to open resistance to persecutions. Jurieu preached war, and predicted that the time was near when the exiles should re-enter France, sword in hand. When his prediction of 1689 didn’t happen, he announced the fall of antichrist and the millennium for the year 1715.

The ensuing battle of pamphlets between Jurieu and Bayle further soured relations between the two men. In 1693, after each hurled accusations at each other, Jurieu succeeded in persuading the municipal council of Rotterdam to suppress Bayle’s post at the École Illustre.

Assemblée Surprise – K Girardet (Huguenots have their secret service in a cave ambushed by dragoons)

It is believed that Jurieu may have consciously or unconsciously incited the Camisard war in the Cévennes mountains of southern France in 1701. Like most noisy, fanatical, one-sided men, he had great influence with the lower classes, especially in the Cévennes. As you will find when you read my Cévenoles Sagas novels, for most Huguenots in the Cévennes, leaving the security of property, family, and livelihood behind for an uncertain future in foreign lands—provided one did not get caught and end up in the galleys or prison—was hardly an option. Sadly, from the comfort of exile, Jurieu’s pamphlets inspired prophetic movements among the Cévenols and admonished them to persevere and continue to profess the faith publicly, knowing that this was effectively a death sentence.

Sources

De Boer, David. “Selling the Last War of Religion.” The Early Modern Dutch Press in an Age of Religious Persecution: The Making of Humanitarianism (Oxford, 2023; online edn, Oxford Academic, 28 Sept. 2023)

Hickson, Michael. “Pierre Bayle.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Jan 12, 2023.

Loconte, Joseph. “The Golden Rule of Toleration”, Christianity Today, 2009.

Sheldon, F. “Pierre Bayle.” The North American Review, Vol. 111, No. 229 (Oct., 1870), pp. 377-402.

*****

Thank you for sharing such an interesting post with us, Ms Larimore.

About the author: Jules Larimore is the author of emotive, literary-leaning historical fiction with a dose of magic, myth, and romance to bring to life hopeful human stories and inspire positive change. She is a member of France’s Splendid Centuries authors’ collaborative, a board member of the Historical Novel Society of Southern California, and lives primarily in Ojai with time spent around the U.S. and Europe gathering a rich repository of historical research in a continued search for authenticity.

 

Author Links:

 

Website: https://juleslarimore.com/

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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Jules-Larimore/author/B0BBC13BR7

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/205843160-find-me-in-the-stars

4 thoughts on “Find Me in the Stars – welcoming Ms Larimore and her Huguenots to my blog!”

  1. Thank you, Anna, for inviting me to your blog! I was just reading your post about the Beguines and thought you might like to know that my character Amelia was inspired by research I did on the Beguines. I stumbled across the articles on these fascinating woman in 2018 and decided Amelia would emulate their values.

  2. Thank you for hosting me on your blog, Anna! I’m glad to know you have a shared fascination with upheaval that followed the Protestant Reformation. Like you, I’ve found the history to be far more complicated than many might believe.

    1. Religion as a whole is fascinating, but what is really striking about the Reformation is just how fast it splintered into various factions.
      Compared to all the upheaval that followed on Luther, researching the Beguines is like settling into a comfy armchair 🙂

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