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Review: Done and Dared in Old France by Deborah Alcock

Little Gaspard, fleeing for his life in the dark forest, spied the light of a small cottage.  The family, rougher people than he had ever met, needed a young boy to help smuggle salt and gave Gaspard two choices:  die or become a smuggler.  Although he learned their ways and met their friends, he never quite forgot his Huguenot past.

Years later,  while visiting his robber friend Tardiff, Gaspard spied him returning gold to a mysterious gentleman.  There was something about this stranger’s voice and kind eyes that changed the youth’s  life forever.  He began to dream of escape, both from the salt smugglers and from France.  Adventure after adventure followed as he met with the most unlikely helper, a beautiful girl, and many kind and confusing people.

Done and Dared in Old France, the story of Gaspard’s coming of age in a dangerous time, is hard to put down.  It’s full of risks, difficult choices, bravery, faith, and even a bit of romance.  You will love Gaspard, a lively, determined young man.  You will be intrigued by the mysterious gentleman, breathe sighs of relief when a dear young girl manages to escape, and come to understand a sad time in French history.

This tale begins shortly after Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes, removing all protection from French Protestants.  Huguenots were to be imprisoned, hanged, or worse, and all routes out of France were carefully guarded since none of them were permitted to flee.  But many did.  Sometimes compassionate friends ‘accidentally’ left doors open, sometimes brave guides risked their lives.  Done and Dared in Old France tells their story.

A lengthy appendix relates the life of Claude Brousson, a famous Huguenot pastor.  This was the mysterious gentleman who spoke to Gaspard and changed the lives of so many.  While Gaspard’s story is fictional, Brousson actually lived and served among the people of France until he was martyred in 1698.

Our family highly recommends Done and Dared in Old France as a thrilling and inspiring novel.  It would also make a memorable addition to any study of French history or church history for ages 11 and up.

Done and Dared in Old France is available from Inheritance Publications.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book from Inheritance Publications in order to review it. I am not compensated for my reviews and my opinions are my own.


  1. Sarah says:

    I love the Deborah Alcock books. The only problem is that little happens until they are finished!

    1. Annie Kate says:

      That is true, but they’re worth it! 🙂

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