Find Me in the Stars: Coffee Pot Book Club Blog Tour

“Larimore’s ability to engulf a reader into a tale… is brilliantly done.”

5-star Highly Recommended Award of Excellence ~ Historical Fiction Company

Separated by miles, connected by the stars, two healers forge their destinies in a quest for a brighter tomorrow.

Inspired by a true story, this refugee’s tale of sacrifice, separation, and abiding love unfolds in the Cévennes Mountains of Languedoc, France, 1697. A sweeping adventure during the time of Louis XIV’s oppressive rule and persecutions, this compelling narrative follows the intertwined destinies of two remarkable protagonists, Amelia Auvrey, a mystic holy-woman healer, and Jehan BonDurant, an apothecary from a noble Huguenot family, in a riveting tale of enduring love, faith, and the search for light in the darkest of times. 

Amelia and Jehan are fierce champions of tolerance and compassion in their cherished Cévenole homeland, a region plagued by renewed persecution of Huguenots. The escalated danger forces their paths to diverge, each embarking on their own dangerous journey toward survival and freedom. The Knights Hospitaller provide protection and refuge for Amelia and her ailing sage-femme grandmother, even as they come under suspicion of practicing witchcraft. And, to avoid entanglement in a brewing rebellion, Jehan joins a troupe of refugees who flee to the Swiss Cantons seeking sanctuary—a journey that challenges his faith and perseverance. Jehan arrives to find things are not as he expected; the Swiss have their own form of intolerance, and soon immigrants are no longer welcome. The utopian Eden he seeks remains elusive until he learns of a resettlement project in the New World. 

During their time apart, Amelia and Jehan rely on a network of booksellers to smuggle secret letters to each other—until the letters mysteriously cease, casting doubt on their future together. Jehan is unclear if Amelia will commit to joining him, or if she will hold fast to her vow of celibacy and remain in the Cévennes. Seemingly ill-fated from the start, their love is tested to its limits as they are forced to navigate a world where uncertainty and fear threaten to eclipse their unwavering bond. 

As a stand-alone sequel to the award-winning The Muse of Freedom, a bestseller in Renaissance Fiction, Find Me in the Stars is based on true events in the life of Jean Pierre Bondurant dit Cougoussac–an unforgettable adventure where love and light endure against all odds.

From Chapter 6

Fettered Freedom


1 October 1697 ~ Afternoon

Republic of Geneva

Following two grueling days of trekking the mountains, their muscles throbbing and bodies depleted, the refugee group found temporary respite in a farm cart laden with bales of wool. Though it gave time for blisters to calm, it was a desperate attempt to avoid being discovered. The suffocating stench of unbathed bodies concealed under greasy, unscoured sheep’s wool, heads and elbows incessantly thudding against the wooden floorboards, was nearly intolerable but Jehan knew the situation could be much worse.

The group managed to evade the Pont sur le Guiers border guard, who’d been passed out in a drunken stupor. But once they safely crossed out of France and into Savoy, and rose from the dregs of their confinement, the grumbling began. The ordeal had been so utterly disagreeable that they heartily concurred to share the extra expense of a coach.

Massip did some scouting around the villages just beyond the crossing and easily located a coach for hire. With Jehan covering Moyse’s share, the group hastily boarded.

Eager to see what lay ahead, Jehan took the seat alongside the coach driver, and they moved swiftly on through Savoy toward the Republic of Geneva. 

Some hours after passing through Annecy, the clouds finally gave way. Jehan angled his head toward the sun, filled with gratitude for the long-awaited touch of warmth on his face. He smiled, knowing that their destination was close at hand.

As the driver gradually slowed the coach and stopped on a rise, a flurry of other refugees traveling in carts, carriages, and on foot pushed past them. The location afforded a stunning view of the most magnificent walled city Jehan had ever seen.

“There she is,” said the coachman. “We call ‘er the Protestant Rome. Lots of those philosophical sorts in the city these days.”

Geneva. Jehan filled his lungs with the crisp afternoon air and sighed. “Splendid.”

Set at the edge of a vast lake tucked between rolling, verdant hills and majestic mountains, the city’s grandeur evoked the very essence of the mythical Eden he’d envisioned. A multitude of spires and towers reflected in the sparkling waters of the Rhone and Arve Rivers, and beckoned to all to enter through its bustling gates. He didn’t need to go further than this beautiful city. Here, he could stay closer to France, closer to Amelia.

As the coach continued on toward the city, Jehan contemplated a plan to stay in Geneva and forgo his uncle’s offer to join the colony in Aarau. He had to make a choice of his own free will, even if it displeased Uncle Barjon. They approached a queue at the south gate, and Jehan could see the guards were requiring paperwork. He turned back to Massip, who sat on the rear bench.

“Do they need our passports?”

“They want your letters of attestation.”

“Attestation of what?” Jehan asked.

“Of your Protestant faith.”

Jehan swallowed hard. Had he come all this way only to be denied entry? Although he had a growing interest in the Reformed Calvinist faith of his forefathers, he had never denied the Catholic faith after being converted by the Dominicans as a child. He had fled France to escape the violence. And to avoid conscription into the King’s militia, where he’d be forced to fight against his friends and neighbors. And especially for freedom of conscience, no matter what spiritual path he chose. But now, was he to be forced into yet another singular path? Why had his Uncle Barjon not mentioned this in their correspondence over the past year?

“‘Tis not something I have, this attestation.” The words caught in Jehan’s throat.

Massip waved a hand. “Do not worry yourself, Sieur BonDurant. Since you are Pasteur Barjon’s nephew, that will count for much. I’ll take care of getting you the required paperwork to enter the city. We each must obtain a Passa that allows us to stay for one night, but one night only. Then we’ll continue by boat to Aarau and join your uncle’s colony.”

Amelia’s tender smile and the mesmerizing, mutable color in her hazel eyes came into Jehan’s mind. “I would prefer to stay in Geneva. It would be far easier for my friend Amelia to join me here. I have my own money.”

Massip’s expression hardened, and he shook his head. “I am sorry. Money does not buy everything. Geneva will welcome us for a brief stay. But because of food shortages, those who are not citizens must move on.”

Jehan’s shoulders melted under the disappointment.

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Jules Larimore is the author of emotive, literary-leaning historical fiction with a dose of magic, myth, and romance to bring to life hopeful human stories and inspire positive change. She is a member of France’s Splendid Centuries authors’ collaborative, a board member of the Historical Novel Society of Southern California, and lives primarily in Ojai with time spent around the U.S. and Europe gathering a rich repository of historical research in a continued search for authenticity.

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