Claudie Durand is 18 years old and knows that she will never marry. She will be useful and dependable, but nothing more. Her father decided this when Claudie was young, after her mother abandoned their family to join a religious order. Claudie’s beautiful younger sister, Mathilde, will marry and begin her own life, while Claudie will take over running the family inn. But when the French Revolution finally reaches the northwestern region of Brittany and the revolutionary army destroys Claudie’s village, both Claudie’s and Mathilde’s plans for the future disappear in the smoke.
The two sisters, the sole survivors of their village, are thrust into the resistance efforts of a group called the Legion. Together, Claudie and Mathilde make their way toward the Breton capital of Rennes and then to England, joining forces along the way with a resistance leader known only as the Rooster of Rennes. Claudie’s intelligence and capability propels them forward, and as she grows closer to the cause—and to the Rooster himself—Claudie finally begins to recognize her worth.
In The Diamond Keeper, Jeannie Mobley (The Jewel Thief) thrusts readers into the midst of the French Revolution, vividly illustrating the horrors of war. Claudie is an appealing protagonist who brings historical events to life for readers as they follow her journey from France to England and her transformation from indifference and insecurity to passion and confidence. Claudie’s romance with the Rooster of Rennes is endearing, if a bit predictable, and it’s enjoyable to see Claudie discover her own strength as she repeatedly saves the day, not to mention the Rooster’s life.
More poignant is the evolution of Claudie’s relationship with Mathilde. Claudie has served as a maternal figure for Mathilde since both girls were very young. Mathilde, it seems, recognized Claudie’s potential long before Claudie ever did, and as Claudie’s emotions toward Mathilde shift from resentment and envy to respect and even admiration, readers will be moved by the new and more mature bond of sisterhood that forms between them.
The backdrop of the French Revolution will pique the interest of young history buffs, and Claudie’s leadership will make the book a hit with readers who’ve questioned their self-worth, their purpose or their path.