City of Tears by Kate Mosse is the second book in the series that began with The Burning Chambers (see my blog), which I enjoyed reading in 2018. It picks up the story ten years later in 1572, with Minou, her husband Piet and their children, living a happy life in Puivert, in the castle Minou has inherited from her Huguenot ancestors, where the family lives in harmony alongside their Catholic neighbours. But this peaceful existence doesn’t last long, when they decide to travel to Paris to attend the royal wedding of Marguerite de Valois to Henri of Navarre, which promises to unite France and put an end to the religious wars.
Sadly it does no such thing. The atmosphere in Paris is tense, and comes to boiling point after the wedding, when Minou and Piet have to flee the city to save their lives, but tragically are forced to leave behind one of the family. They escape to Amsterdam, with the help of a new Catholic, Dutch friend Cornelia van Raay, and there Minou tries to build a new life for herself and her family, but can never forgive herself for not staying on in Paris. Time slowly heels, as twelve years go by, when word suddenly comes that Minou’s missing family member may have been seen in Chartres and so Piet and Minou set off to see for themselves, daring to hope.
This is a great read of high drama as French and Dutch history play out within one family, torn apart and exiled by religion and battling with their enemy Vidal du Plessis, who has stolen Piet’s inheritance, and who wants Minou and Piet dead. I am looking forward to the story being picked up in book three.