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Marie Durand (Christian Biographies for…
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Marie Durand (Christian Biographies for Young Readers)

by Simonetta Carr

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Marie Durand by Simonetta Carr is an interesting, though short, account of the Christian lady. I didn't know anything about Marie before reading this biography, the name sounded familiar but didn't point to any substantive information in my mind. Now, I understand that she was a French lady living during the 1700s who was imprisoned on account of her brother's being a pastor. She could have gotten out of prison by denying the faith but did not do so and stayed in in prison for 38 years.

There are interesting illustrations throughout, and also photographs of items and places from Durand's era. At the end of the book there is a pronunciation key to help one read and pronounce the French words, a 'Did You Know?' section giving more information about the people and lifestyle of that era, and a letter from Marie to her niece Anne. Also, I liked the Epilogue, where Carr gives an overview of what happened after Marie died. The 'Age of Reason' or Enlightenment was critiqued quite well, and I think in a way that even young children will understand. Here is a small excerpt: "During that Age of Reason, or Enlightenment, as that time became known, they started to reject or ignore most teachings human beings can't fully explain, such as that God works miracles, that Jesus is God, or that God is one in three persons." I especially liked the statement she gives of Paul Rabaut in this section where he states that, "I will not reject a mystery for the only reason that it cannot be understood." That is a statement that still fits today.

The only thing that I believe would make this book better would be for it to have a list of other books of Marie Durand and the times in which she lived, so that any children (or adults) who get a thirst for more information on, or a deeper look at, the subject would have some suggested resources already on hand. But, despite its shortness, this biographical overview is quite inspiring, it shows children (and adults) a Christian whose faith they may strive to imitate.

Many thanks to the people at Cross Focused Reviews for sending me a review copy of this book(My review did not have to be favorable.
( )
  SnickerdoodleSarah | Apr 13, 2016 |
The era was long after the inception of the Protestant Reformation, but before "The Age of Enlightenment" as some modern history books call it. Marie Durand was born into a world where the ability to worship God according to their consciences was illegal. Parents had to make compromises to live in peace. Marie had an older brother, Pierre, who loved the Lord in spite of his public education. When he became an adult, he decided to become a Protestant pastor. It was a risky decision because his illegal activities put his entire family in danger of being imprisoned. One day a spy in the congregation informed the authorities of his activities. Because the home where he conducted worship services belonged to his mother, she was arrested and sent to prison. She died there seven years later. Marie was only seven years old. Pierre escaped to Switzerland where he sought further education and training to become a pastor.

Several years later, soldiers raided the Durand home where they found hidden Bibles, hymnals and their father's diaries. The government used these as evidence of Pierre's crimes. They arrested Marie and Pierre's father because he was related to a criminal. He was sent to prison where he stayed for a long time. Marie was left alone at the family estate when she was only 17. Shortly after that, she became engaged to a family friend. They only enjoyed their engagement for a few months before they were both arrested and sent to separate prisons, again for being related to Pierre. The remainder of this 64-page book focuses on the thirty-eight years Marie spent in the Prison of Constance. It was there that her numerous letters guided and encouraged the hearts of many Christians, including her family in exile and family in prison.

Opening the copy of the book I was to review, I was immediately impressed with the physical quality. It is of legacy quality construction in the way it is bound. The pages are sturdy, glossy, thick, and smooth to the touch. This book is a great addition to any child's book library. The author, Simonetta Carr, partnered with illustrator Matt Abraxas whose oils fit the time period they portray. All the illustrations he contributed to this book depict incidences of deeply emotional moments and personal relationships. It's the type of art I would want my children or grandchildren to spend time with and learn from.

While this is a children's picture book, young readers would appreciate the story line, the extra information the photographs offer, the timeline of events laid out in the final portion of the book, the pronunciation key of terms and important names mentioned on the pages. The author also provides a copy of a letter Marie wrote to her niece while she was still in prison and some fascinating historical background that influenced the story line.

Finally, Mrs. Carr's writing style makes this piece of history come alive for the parent, the reader, the listener, the visual learner, the art enthusiast, and the teacher. It is a flexible book which fits many needs. I highly recommend it for its educational value and for personal pleasure.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC) on behalf of Reformation Heritage Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” ( )
  Beverlylynnt | Jul 15, 2015 |
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