Food is pretty important. I mean, I will take you down if you get between me and my cheese curds. I’m sorry. I’m not alone, you know. Were you aware that the act of eating meat on a Friday was one of the leading causes of the battle between the Huguenots and the Catholics in the most recent Heirloom Audio Henty adventure, St. Bartholomew’s Eve? If you know French history, you know where this is going, but Henty has an interesting and memorable way of getting you there.
St. Bartholomew’s Eve is the story of the persecution of the Protestant Christians in France by the Catholics during the French Wars of Religion of the 1500s. It centers around the story of a British lad, Philip, and his French cousin, Francois, a royal. As their adventures draw them into battles together or separately, we get a taste of the persecution and battle that defined that time period.
I was moved by the depth of loyalty Philip, showed toward Francois. The Huguenot battle was not his, but as a Protestant and a cousin of one of the persecuted, he gave up his own security and comfort to fight on behalf of the persecuted Christians in France. The loyalty is returned in full force, as Francois risks his own life to protect his cousin. The encouragement between the two is also admirable.
“Fear is what you feel, but brave is what you are!”
I love the character traits taught throughout the story. For example, instead of playing video games, they improve their skills and discuss theology. They also openly accept constructive criticism in a Christian manner. And the depth of friendship Henty characters share–it’s heart-warming. What a world that would be if we all focused on developing our gifts, building each other up, and seeking God’s will, eh? (Whoa, I’ve been in Wisconsin a while, haven’t I…’n so?)
We have forgotten our most important armor–the armor of God.”
One of my favorite characters is an 11-year-old boy whose French name we can’t pronounce, much less spell. It’s like an Italian cheese company…Argento, maybe? His bravery and loyalty are, once again, admirable, as is his faith. His passion and bravery are also noticeable traits. Not even being shot and losing his leg can stop him! He’s my little hero. This comment from the person in charge of him during a battle strikes home in a rather humorous way.
“You help by keeping me from having to watch you.”
Henty often uses youthful characters who grow in their values throughout the story, which is an excellent example to those of us listeners who may or may not…or may (ahem) struggle in certain areas. Like undying trust in impossible times.
“I will see you in heaven. … It will be a busy day at the pearly gates.”
~Captain Cool whose actual surname I never caught
The dead skinned cattle carcass military approach was something new to us. Never heard of that one before! Neither had any of the people of the time, which is why they deemed it God’s plan instead of their own. Despite everything seeming impossible, the Huguenots did not give up protecting themselves and their women and children from the persecution of the enemy.
I’m not going to tell you how this ends, because that would make me a meanie beanie. (A what?! You heard me. A meanie beanie.) If you’re a student of history, however, you already know the big story behind each of Henty’s works, including this one. You don’t know, however, the sub-plot that runs through each of the historical pieces, also including this one.
I have raved about Heirloom Audio time and time again. You can read about their professional productions, the quality stories, and more at the following links, all written by me. If you don’t like my writing, you shouldn’t click on any of them. That was your obvious pointer of the day and you are very welcome.
- Wulf the Saxon
- Captain Bailey’s Heir
- In the Reign of Terror
- The Dragon and the Raven
- Beric the Briton
- The Cat of Bubastes
In the interest of fairness, variety, and total honesty, I’m going to share with you some possible things that your family might struggle with in this (and many other) Henty audio productions from Heirloom. None of these have kept us from listening enthusiastically to each new production (and some old ones for a re-listen). I simply thought you may have been growing nauseous from my gushing over the past six Henty reviews. So let me just reiterate how much we really enjoy these audios. (Don’t tell anyone, but it’s one of the reasons we stay on the Homeschool Review Crew every year–hoping Heirloom shows up again! Shhhhh.) Love them. Gushing over. Now to try and be completely objective.
Sometimes some of us (me included) have difficulty following audio dramas instead of audio books or (easiest of all) reading a book ourselves. To add to the challenge of listening and following along are the battle noises and background sounds throughout the reading. Personally, whether reading, listening, or watching, I get lost during battles. That’s why I never became a war correspondent. (There may be other reasons.) For comprehension reasons, I usually prefer to listen to small portions at a time and talk through what we hear. I have some children, however, who are exceptionally good listeners, and who like to listen to the entire production en masse. I envy them.
I sometimes can’t understand an accent…but that’s true in real life, as well.
There is violence. In this story, an 11-year-old boy is shot and loses his leg (but not his courage). His mother is shot dead saving her children. A 12-year-old boy is hung for his faith. Battles abound. Promises are broken by the government. Seriously, it’s based on history, and history is bloody and broken. Good luck teaching it without a few Bandaids in your back pocket. (I like to follow an intense Henty story with a lovely Jane Austen novel or entertaining Mitford installment from Jan Karon.)
My girls can often predict certain aspects of the story within the first half hour. Henty has a pattern, and my girls know it well. As they say, “Henty has the same character in every store aaaaannnnndddd…wait for it…there’s the girl he will marry!” Ha ha! True true, but this again doesn’t detract from the story.
The production exceeds two hours and is split onto two discs. You can also get it digitally, but I’m hopelessly olde school. (You can tell by how I spelled “olde.”)
And, uh, a little confession: We did chuckle rather guiltily when a pre-battle prayer went a little long and one of the nervous soldiers commented on the nearness of the enemy. “Uh…the enemy is coming.” It’s like a Lutheran potluck prayer. “Uh…the food is getting cold.”
Listen to what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew have to say:
Follow Heirloom Audio on social media: