Emilie


Fiction - Historical - Personage
304 Pages
Reviewed on 07/28/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Ingrid Ramsdale was born in Sydney, Australia but spent her childhood growing up in New Guinea.
As a busy entrepreneur running her own business, Ingrid’s life took a dramatic turn in 2016 after a freaky accident that caused a traumatic head injury. Creative writing was the catalyst to her healing and as she improved, she penned her debut novel, Emilie that was published in 2021.
Ingrid loves writing historical fiction as she believes it provides a conduit to the past and a better understanding of who we are in today’s world.
She uses her skills as both a teacher and clinical nutritionist to create meaningful and dramatic stories.
Ingrid lives in a small rural town in Tasmania, Australia. She writes from an old 1880s hotel that she and her husband, Michael, lovingly restored into a beautiful home for themselves. When she is not writing Ingrid enjoys growing and cooking her own produce, bushwalking, photography and spending time with her grandchildren.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

Emilie by Ingrid Ramsdale takes us back to sixteenth-century France and a time of great change in French society as the predominantly Roman Catholic religion is being challenged by the rise of a new way of worshipping; the teachings of John Calvin and his Protestant movement that was sweeping through Europe at the time. Emilie’s family are proud Huguenots (Protestants) and as such are threatened by the rising tide of violence from the country’s Catholic majority, spurred on by the French government and Pope Gregory to crush the burgeoning Protestant religion. Emilie wanted nothing more than to learn about plants and their medicinal qualities, to become a healer. But daughters of noble families did not study; they instead were married off to advance the family’s political connections. Faced with a brother who clearly hated her, a father who doted on her but was swayed by the political considerations of 16th-century France, and a mother who couldn’t understand or empathize with Emilie’s desires, she felt alone and defeated. Preparing to run away and assume a new identity, Emilie’s plans are thwarted when the Paris mob begins hunting down and massacring Huguenot families. Barely escaping with her life, Emilie finds herself on a dangerous and violent path as she is hunted, not only by her malicious and jealous brother Pierre but also by her supposed fiancé, the evil Marcus Daval. For Emilie, life has become one long search for the peace and happiness she so passionately desires.

Emilie is a fantastically exciting adventure that captures readers and carries them along in a whirlwind of danger and self-discovery that anyone who reads it will find enthralling. Author Ingrid Ramsdale has created a feminine lead character in Emilie who is both appealing and relatable. As a twenty-first-century reader, one cannot help but empathize with this beautiful young woman who wants nothing more than to break away from the strictures of feminine expectation in the 16th century and strike out on her own, using her brains and intellect to help mankind rather than submitting to the expectations of her parents and society in general.

I really appreciated that, at its core, this was a love story, a romance that transcended physical deprivation, pain, and horrific injury. The author did a fabulous job at tying all the disparate links between the characters into a thoroughly believable and acceptable narrative. Historical fiction that relates to actual seminal events in history is always the best type, in my opinion. The factual nature of the narrative, the relationship between the fictional characters such as Emilie, and the real-life events that surrounded her, such as the St Bartholomew Day’s massacre, were seamless and believable. This is an extraordinary debut novel and I will certainly be keeping a keen eye out for more works in the future from this talented author. This is a book that I can highly recommend.

K.C. Finn

Emilie is a work of fiction in the historical, interpersonal drama, and romance subgenres, and was penned by author Ingrid Ramsdale. Suitable for the general reading audience, the story follows our sixteen-year-old protagonist Emilie Lefroy as she struggles to discover her true self against the backdrop of the gruesome Wars of Religion in France in the 16th century. With the odds stacked against her as a noble young woman of intellect and aspiration, what results is a dangerous new life for Emilie where her beliefs and her faith in herself are put to the test.

Author Ingrid Ramsdale has crafted a masterful work of historical fiction with just the right balance of danger, intrigue, romantic entanglements, and empowering messages for audiences everywhere to enjoy. One of the features which most impressed me about this work was its commitment to character development, which shines through in the relatable and deeply likable central protagonist. Emilie is a daring young woman caught amongst strong-minded and malicious men. Ramsdale manages to keep her character authentic to her time but also ahead of it, making for a novel brimming with inspirational overtones. The atmosphere and well-researched detail of the Renaissance period was also wonderfully staged, the scenery of a grim period of French history intermingling with the sights, sounds, and smells of everyday life. Overall, I would highly recommend Emilie to fans of headstrong and capable female heroes, immersive and atmospheric historical fiction, and especially for enthusiasts of the grimier aspects of European history everywhere.

Ruffina Oserio

Emilie by Ingrid Ramsdale is a historical novel set in sixteenth-century France. Emilie had always wanted to be a healer, and while societal norms made it almost impossible to pursue her dreams, Emilie is a free-spirited, carefree, and strong young woman who challenges popular beliefs that reinforce inequality. Her parents are devout believers who are more concerned about getting her married to a nobleman than letting her pursue her heart’s desires, and Pierre, her brother, was a searing thorn in the flesh. Betrothed to the sly Marcus Daval, her brother's friend - who is abhorrent, full of himself, and arrogant - and with the royal wedding just weeks away, Emilie has no plans of remaining in France. But when she is about to leave for good, she witnesses the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, and it changes everything. Will she pursue her plans to leave, or stay and use her skills to help her fellow Huguenots?

Ingrid Ramsdale’s protagonist is a sophisticated, multidimensional character who happens to be everything her family doesn’t want her to be. She is strong-willed, but she finds herself in a society with values that don’t align with her core beliefs. The author deftly explores family relationships and weaves dramatic scenes that are captivating. The setting is a turbulent period in French history and the images of that world are tautly written, with descriptions that are vivid and compelling. Themes of love, religion, and humanity shine strongly through the narrative. The religious conflict is introduced in the opening pages of the book and intelligently developed, and readers will appreciate how different beliefs can plunge a whole country into a bloodbath. The descriptions of the massacres are visceral, and it is gripping to follow the internal dialogues taking place within Emilie and how she quietly questions a God who allows people to kill each other in His name. Emilie has plenty of drama, twists that are unexpected, and features elaborately written characters that readers can easily stick with for their realism. It is a tale of loss and one woman’s journey to find herself in a turbulent world.

Jennifer Ibiam

Emilie by Ingrid Ramsdale is a historical fiction novel that takes place in the 16th century. Emilie Lefroy was born a noblewoman to a Protestant family in Paris. With a brother that despised her, parents who thought the least of her, and a wicked betrothed, Emilie’s life was a living hell. When Catholics massacred the Huguenots (Protestants), her family wasn’t spared. However, her brother Pierre and betrothed, Marcus Daval, renounced Protestantism and were spared. Now they wanted her dead, and she was on the run–-a journey to finding herself and saving her life in such a confused and intolerant world. Will Emilie ever attain freedom from her physical and mental assailants. How long will she continue to run? Follow Emilie through her highs and lows in this intense novel.

Emilie by Ingrid Ramsdale is a wholesome tale of loss, love, grief, loyalty, compromise, deception, and sacrifice. The plot, based on fact, was brilliant and had a depth that drew me in. Ingrid also created beautiful characters. Scenes were so realistic that I felt transported to the 1560s. The level of religious intolerance between denominations irked me. Unfortunately, ethnic cleansing, interdenominational and interreligious wars still abound. I was also pained to learn that women had little to no value in the days of old. I’ve decided that religion isn’t terrible, but the faithful ruin it. My favorite characters were Marthe, Thomas, Heloise, and Emilie. Marthe was all the sunshine I needed for this intense read. Her resilience and optimistic outlook were unrivaled. I loved reading this educative book, herbs and all. It is suitable for the big screen.

Tiffany Ferrell

Emilie Lefroy is a sixteen-year-old Huguenot girl from a noble family in France. Her family favors her older brother Pierre who is a deranged and cruel person. What Emilie wants more than anything is to study herbal medicine, but her parents are strictly against it. They try to squash those dreams by forcing her to marry her brother's friend. She finds a kindred spirit in her new governess who reveals to her that her soon-to-be husband is a Catholic ally and finds Pierre in the same ranks as him. Her parents don’t believe her, but soon an uprising occurs and the king issues an order against the Huguenots. Her house is ransacked and her family is murdered in cold blood. The only exception is her brother who is a turncoat, along with Marcus. Suddenly Emilie finds herself on the run and encounters a number of surprising people who are willing to keep her out of harm's way. What will the future hold for her? Will she be able to follow her dreams, or end with a cruel turncoat for a husband.

I thought Emilie by Ingrid Ramsdale was a very good and gripping historical novel. I’ve read quite a few books that take place during this particular period, but never about a noble Huguenot family. I really enjoyed Emilie’s character. She was well written, well thought out, and very easy to relate to. The author made her brother and his friend into perfect villains that you can’t help but dislike. Ingrid Ramsdale has done a wonderful job with Emilie and I can’t wait to read more of her work.