Set in the early 18th century in Quebec, The Blighted Troth is a work of historical fiction. At the outset, Emilie, a virtuous young woman, is betrothed to Robert, the town’s goodhearted miller. In New France, a quasi-feudal system exists, with most people living on land owned by powerful private landholders or the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, for the Emilie, the local landowner, Richard, is determined to have her for himself, and will do anything to make that happen. What follows is a gripping tale of two lovers trying desperately to overcome the powerful forces that are working against them.
The story itself was based on an Italian classic, The Betrothed by Alexandro Manzoni. While I haven’t read the original, it appears that the author kept the basic story line intact, while transferring the location to Quebec circa 1700. This action enabled her to incorporate some real events, like the Quebec bread riots and a deadly smallpox epidemic.
The great thing about historical fiction is learning about some piece of history that had previously been unknown to you. The Blighted Troth definitely did that for me. The story was good, but not great. However, I did enjoy it and learned a thing or two!
3 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2011