Between 1663 and 1673 approximately 800 women emigrated to Canada to marry and have children to protect the land for King Louis XIV from any country trying to steal the land from him. The 'New France' was mostly populated by men and natives. The women known as filles du roi, meaning that the women were recruited by the government and their passage was paid by the King, gave up what they knew or escaped to start a new life in an untamed land.
The women in Promised to the Crown were Nicole, who was set to marry but her betrothed married another and her father felt that this would be a good way for Nicole to marry well with no dowry. Rose, is an orphaned woman who must decide between becoming a Daughter of France or the stay at charity hospital she finds herself in, she decides to become a nun rather than marry and Elizabeth, is the daughter of a Parisian baker but after he dies, her mother sets up an arranged marriage and Elizabeth refuses.
These women are housed in a convent in Quebec when they arrive and men would come to pay court to the young women. These men would then decide on whom they wanted to marry, and have a family with. Almost like a mail order bride concept.
Elizabeth had worked with her father in the family bakery and she was skilled at baking. A baker asks for her hand and she agrees. Nicole marries a young man and they go to his cabin but she finds that it was not what she expected or what he promised her. He is killed accidently by the Huron and she is left a widow and pregnant forcing her to move back to the town and back in the marriage pool. Rose is scared to death of the prospect of intimacy that would be part of a marriage and wishes to become a nun. She has a year to see if she changes her mind.
Life in a new country begins for these three women and soon they are married and with children. Not everything is rosy, there are mean spirited people in the town but they persevere amongst heartbreak and loss.
I found this story to be quite interesting, I am sure I learned about the early history of Canada back in the day, but I don't remember this particular time. Definitely well researched and engaging characters will keep you interested until the end. I definitely look forward to the next in the trilogy, Duty to the Crown (Daughters of New France) which comes out in October of 2016. So if this is an era that you are interested in reading about, then this trilogy is one to read!