About the Book
After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.
When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne's brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?
With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king's mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.
About the Author
Jody Hedlund, Christy Award-winning author
"A page-turner of a tale set against France's early struggles to colonize Louisiana, The Mark of the King bears all the marks of the best historical fiction--rich attention to detail, settings historically accurate and lushly depicted, a complex and layered plot, diverse cultures vividly portrayed, and the ever-present sense of the larger forces of time and place shaping the lives and destinies of characters I came to care about. The unjustly exiled Julianne is a woman to admire and cheer, the soldier Marc-Paul a man of strength and devotion. Lovers of historical fiction will be transported by this beautifully written novel of the early 18th-century frontier."
Lori Benton, award-winning author of The Wood's Edge and A Flight of Arrows
Recipe: Classic French Palmiers
· Puff pastry, either homemade or store bought, which is what I used. (I used Pepperidge Farm brand, but if you can find a brand such as DuFour, that uses only butter, not shortening or vegetable oil, the taste will be even better.)
· Sugar. (I used demerara because of its coarse texture--and it's also not as sweet as white or brown sugar--but you can use whichever kind you want.)
1. Thaw the puff pastry, if frozen, either in the refrigerator overnight, or on the counter for about half an hour or so. When it's pliable, but still cool, it's ready.
2. Roll out the puff pastry to even out the seams.
3. Sprinkle sugar in an even layer over the surface of the dough. Roll over it lightly with a rolling pin to press the sugar into the dough.
4. Fold the left and the right sides of the dough inward, lengthwise, so they meet in the middle. Your rectangle should now be half the width it was when you started.
5. Sprinkle sugar over the dough again, and roll over the dough lightly to press in the sugar.
6. Fold the left side of your rectangle over the right side. Now you should have a very long, flat length of dough.
7. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes, to make them easier to cut. This step will also help them puff better in the oven.
8. Heat the oven to 425°F.
9. After chilling, slice the log across into cookies roughly 1-inch wide.
10. Transfer cookies to parchment-lined baking sheet, cut side up. (Psst: I didn't have parchment paper when I made these, so I just put them on baking stones, and they turned out just fine.) Sprinkle the cookies with more sugar, if desired. Give the palmiers plenty of space to puff up in the oven. On a baking sheet that I normally use for a dozen cookies, I placed three rows of two palmiers, and that was perfect. If you bake in batches, keep the un-baked cookies in the fridge until it's their turn to bake.
11. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until dark golden.
12. Cool and eat! Let the palmiers cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Palmiers are best the day they are made, but can be stored in an airtight container for several days.
Variations to try, instead of sugar would be shredded cheese, minced lemon peel, or finely chopped dried fruit.
It's a perfect, light treat to accompany cider, coffee, or tea--and of course, a good book club discussion! Enjoy!
Recipe: French Crêpes
This is enough for about eight crepes. Double or triple as necessary.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 large eggs
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of melted butter
Canola oil for cooking
1. Make the batter. Place the flour, milk, eggs, salt, and melted butter in a blender and blend for about 20 seconds until batter is smooth. Or you could whisk everything together in a bowl until thoroughly combined and frothy.
2. Let the batter rest. Cover the bowl and let the batter sit for an hour on the counter. Don’t skip this step! They won’t turn out the same.
3. Cook the crêpes. Place the pan over medium heat and add a small amount of oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Once hot, pour in about 1/4 cup of batter. Immediately, pick up the pan and swirl it to coax the batter into an even layer on the bottom of the pan. (If the batter starts cooking before you’re able to spread it evenly on the bottom of the pan, the heat is too high.)
4. Flip the crêpe. When the crêpe has browned slightly on the bottom, carefully work a spatula underneath it and flip. Cook the second side briefly, just to set the batter. Tilt the pan and loosen the crêpe, then slide it onto the cooling rack.
5. Repeat. Continue making crêpes with the rest of the batter, adding more oil as needed to keep the crêpes from sticking.
If not eating the crêpes immediately, stack them one on top of the other as they cool. If they seem sticky, place a square of plastic wrap or parchment paper between them. Place the stack in a sealable plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer for a few months.
Offer a variety of ways to fill the crepes. Ideas include: Nutella, sliced strawberries and bananas, or even cheese and chives. My favorite version is to sprinkle sugar over it, then squeeze fresh lemon juice of the crepe, fold it into quarters, and eat! Bon appétit!