The City of Tears by Kate Mosse

This is the second book in the Burning Chambers trilogy. Minou Joubert and Piet Reydon are living in a Chateau in the south-west of France, in the Languedoc region showing how catholics and protestants can live together. The queen mother has decided that this needs to be repeated across France to bring an end to the toing and froing between the two religious groups and so her Catholic daughter is to marry Henry of Navarre, a Huguenot. This resulted in the Saint Bartholomew’s Day massacre of 1572 where thousands of Protestants were murdered by Catholics.

In the ensuing chaos, Minou and Piet’s daughter is lost and after looking for her, the family decide they can not return home but end up in Amsterdam living peacefully and looking after children orphaned by war. But someone from Piet’s past is still looking for them, and this drives much of the narrative. Who is it and where is he and most of all why?

Mosse is really good at weaving together detailed research and characters that you root for, particularly women. In the book, Minou is the one who shows the most gumption, ability to forgive and determination. Whilst her husband is not completely useless, Minou loves him dearly, he is weaker, less able to share what he is thinking and doing and on both occasions when this happened, more likely to get them into difficulty.

This is a book of loss and finding again, escape and refuge and how difficult it can be to keep family together during turbulent times. An enjoyable read.

You can read a tour of medieval Amsterdam by Kate Mosse here.

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