Suzanne Matthews Interviews Isabelle from The Price of Honor
Bonjour! I want to thank the wonderful people who maintain this blog for allowing me to visit today. The Price of Honor is a historical romance that starts in France and ends in New France, specifically Ville Marie, which most people know as Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Today, I’ve come aboard L’Aigle Dore, the ship that sailed to New France with a number of Filles du Roi aboard, women married by proxy to soldiers who’ve chosen to remain in New France in exchange for land grants. Among the passengers are Seigneur Guy Poirier, one of the colonies’ aristocrats and his mother, Aline. Please join us for a conversation with Isabelle de Caen, a woman on a dangerous mission who may be required to pay a high price for honor.
SM: Bonjour, Isabelle, tell us where you were born.
IDC: I was born in the governor’s palace at Caen, France, on August 10, 1643.
SM: What influence did your birth family have on you, your choices, your life? Explain why and how.
IDC: I am the only daughter of the Comte de Caen, but more importantly, with my father’s death, I’m twelfth in line for the throne of France, with blood ties to the King of England as well. Since I’m the only woman of marriageable age with royal blood in the house of Bourbon, I am a commodity that both my king and others can use to gain influence and power.
My mother, Fiona Stuart, was a descendant of the house of Stuart, whose great-grandmother came to France with Mary Stuart, and remained here when the Scottish queen returned to Scotland. King Charles II of England is a distant cousin. My mother married, Phillipe De Caen, a close cousin of King Louis XIV. It was a rare love match, but one sanctioned by all parties.
Five years ago, King Louis allowed me to wed Pierre Gaudier, the younger son of Vicomte Gaudier, but now that I’m widowed and my husband was accused of treason, I am a liability.
People would use me not only to get the wealth of Caen, but to get to the king. Although he is a young man and the Dauphin but an infant, accidents happen. An unscrupulous man could easily make his way closer to the throne.
Using a clause in her marriage contract, my step-mother has robbed me of my rightful inheritance and made herself my guardian until my twenty-fifth birthday this year. The Chevalier d’Angrignon has been appointed the new governor of Caen and with his new position, he gets a wife, me, and I have no say in the matter since the king has ordered it.
SM: What do you want from life?
IDC: I want to find out the truth about Pierre’s death and restore his honor, then I want to be allowed to live out my life quietly. If I have to stay alone, so be it, but I will not marry the chevalier. The truth about Pierre’s death lies in New France and I intend to go there and figure it out for myself.
SM: What, in the outside world, is preventing you from getting it?
IDC: My step-mother had joined forces with the chevalier since she stands to elevate her status with my marriage. In order to get me to comply, she has threatened Sophie, my cousin. They’ve arranged to send her to New France as Fille du Roi, a bride for a soldier there. They’ve given her my name and forged documents proving she is Sophie Gaudier, Pierre’s widow, since they want to distance me, not only from Pierre but from her. If I refuse, my step-mother will bring up the Navarre witch trials where her grandmother was accused of sorcery. The charges were false and didn’t stick, but my step-mother would see to it Sophie was either burned alive or thrown onto the streets of Paris as a prostitute. I can’t allow that to happen, but I can’t marry the chevalier. An old friend, Guy Poirier, has offered to help Sophie claim the lands and money Pierre had in the colony and get settled in New France. The only way Sophie will be safe from them is if Isabelle De Caen dies.
SM: That seems a little drastic. You’re putting a lot of faith in Guy Poirier. How do you decide if you can trust someone? Experience with others? with this person? First impressions? Intuition? Do you test the person somehow? Or are you just generally disposed to trust or not to trust?
IDC: Although I failed to recognize Guy when I first saw him, there was something familiar about him, something that called to my heart. As a boy, he was shy and quiet and brought me flowers. He’s grown into a handsome, impressive man, a lieutenant in the colonial army and a noble in New France. He brought me news that has given me hope. He’s promised to look after Sophie, and once he learned the truth of my circumstances, he’s agreed to help me as well. He’s given me his protection aboard the ship and has offered me his name when we get to the colony. I might have wished for more, but it’s a good match, one that will give me protection and help me clear Pierre’s name. The good Lord sent Guy to me when I was at my lowest. He is an answer to prayer. I have to believe the Lord wants me to trust him, and I have great faith in the Lord.
SM: How would you describe yourself?
IDC: I’m loyal, honest, and obedient. Normally, I do as I’m told, but if I feel someone has been wronged, I’ll do whatever I must to right that wrong regardless of the personal cost I must pay.
SM: What do you consider are your strengths?
IDC: My perseverance and faith. If I start on a course of action, I follow through.
SM: What do you consider are your weaknesses?
IDC: I tend to see what I want to see and don’t always consider the dangers. Take my plan to flee Caen. I didn’t think of what would happen if I couldn’t get into Sophie’s cabin. Thank God Madam Poirier and Guy were willing to help me.
SM: What is one physical attribute you are proud of?
IDC: My eyes. Papa used to call them the real De Caen emeralds.
SM: What one physical attribute would you change?
IDC: My hair. While I love having my mother’s hair, the red gold of autumn leaves, it makes me too easy to find and identify in a crowd.
SM: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done? Why?
IDC: Committing treason and fleeing France, but it was the only way to ensure the lives of others in line for the throne as well as finding out the truth about Pierre’s death. By fleeing France, I’ve left behind all that I am—my home, my parents’ graves, my place in line for the throne, even my name since we’ve buried Isabelle De Caen and I’m soon to be Isidore Poirier. I’ve run away from my responsibilities, and I’ve done so selfishly to avoid marriage to the chevalier, but also to protect others, so hopefully, the Lord will weigh my crime accordingly.
SM: Describe your ideal mate.
IDC: He’s kind and caring, a man of honor and integrity. He fights for what is right, but if he can settle a problem without a fight, he’ll explore that solution first. He will treat me with love and respect and be a good father to our children. He is fiercely loyal to the new land he’s made his own and will do whatever it takes to protect the colony from unscrupulous people. He respects the land and its people.
SM: What are you most afraid of?
IDC: That the chevalier will find me and drag me back to France, where the king will either have me beheaded as a traitor, or force me to marry a man I despise.
SM: You stand on the deck looking out at this strange new land. How do you feel?
IDC: Giddy, frightened, excited. This is a harsh land, a savage land, but a land of great beauty. Someday, it will be even greater than it is now, and it awes me to think that my children will be among those who turn this untamed wilderness into a great nation.
SM: Thank you, Isabelle. Best of luck with your life and plans.
About The Price of Honor:
What price is a woman willing to pay to restore a man’s honor?
When her husband is falsely accused of treason and murdered, Isabelle de Caen vows to find those responsible and see justice done. Of royal descent, Isabelle is stunned when the king orders her hasty marriage to one of his favorites, a man she detests. To save herself from a fate too awful to contemplate, she disobeys the king’s edict and commits treason of her own to find the truth.
Childhood friend, Guy Poirier, an aristocrat in New France, has always loved Isabelle. When he discovers her hiding in his cabin aboard ship, he agrees to hide her from her fiancé and help her clear her husband’s name. It doesn’t take them long to realize there’s more at stake here than her husband’s murder. With the fate of the colony in their hands, can Isabelle and Guy prevent a war and find love in the new world?
The Price of Honor is available from all Amazon retailers.
Susanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. She is of French-Canadian descent. She’s always been an avid reader of all types of books, but with a penchant for happily ever after romances. A retired educator, Susanne spends her time writing and creating adventures for her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.