Tuesday, October 16, 2018

St. Bartholomew's Eve from Heirloom Audio ~ a Crew review

heirloom audio, audio adventure, history, G A Henty

If you lived in a country where you and those who worshipped God like you did were a small minority, and religious persecution broke out, what would you do? This is the tough topic that Heirloom Audio has chosen to tackle in their tenth audio adventure: St. Bartholomew's Eve, a story that spans the thirty years of the Huguenot wars in France from the 1560's to the 1590's. Heirloom Audio deserves another A for this excellent production that treads firmly but gently through the struggles of the Protestant Huguenots during a time when the Catholic church ruled in France almost as strongly as the Monarchy itself.

We appreciated the tact with which Heirloom Audio handled this difficult subject matter, while still producing an entertaining audio drama. Since we already owned and regularly listen to the first nine Heirloom Audio dramas, Arlene and I were more than ready to listen to St. Bartholomew's Eve and learn more about this part of history. I will confess that before we began listening I knew very little about the French Huguenots. After listening to this adaptation of G. A. Henty's historical fiction book, also titled St. Bartholomew's Eve, I was feeling challenged to do some more research into the history of the Huguenots.

In St. Bartholomew's Eve, listeners are transported back to France in the late 1560's. There is turmoil in the air for the Huguenots, who desire to worship God as their hearts dictate, but who make up a scant 10% of the population of France. They are constantly on guard because of attacks from the Catholic church and its ruling family in France, the Guise. Our main character, Philip Fletcher, has crossed the English channel to live with and fight alongside his French cousin Francois. As with other Henty tales, there is friendship, fighting to protect the weak or injured, and a damsel that needs rescued from distress. 

St. Bartholomew's Eve handles the stickiness of the Protestant/ Catholic debate well. When Philip first lands in France he is spoiling for a fight with the Catholics. His wise aunt explains that there are good Catholic men and women left in France, not all of them have been persecuting Protestants, and that fighting is reserved for those treacherous situations where there is no other way. As Arlene and I listened to the story unfold, it made me think about those areas around the world today where Christians are under great persecution. I wondered how I would react if my way of life, and my ability to openly worship God, were under attack.

During the story of St. Bartholomew's Eve, Philip and Francois join with other Huguenots to fight for the freedom to openly worship God as He directs their hearts. There are multiple battles, with advances and loses for the Huguenots, and then what appears to be a time of peace approaches as Protestant ruler Henri of Navarre plans to marry the sister of Catholic King Charles IX, Margaret of Valois. The Huguenot leaders flock to Paris to witness the marriage of their leader, but end up being sheep led to slaughter as the Queen Mother, Catherine de Medici, and the Duke of Guise hatch their nefarious plot that turns into the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.

While this period of French history has a lot of bloodshed and great loss, it can be used as a teaching tool to remind us of how others have lived and died for their faith. The tactful way this tough topic is handled gives parents many opportunities to talk with their children about love, tolerance, intolerance, and freedom of worship. It also allows us to chose to model for our children a better way of interacting with those whose religious views differ from our own than the French Guise family and their followers did in the 1570's. While these audio adventures are designed for ages 6-16, for this one, I'm going to recommend it for ages 12 and up. That is also the age I recommend for Heirloom Audio's In the Reign of Terror.

To read our reviews of previous Heirloom Audio titles, click here for our review of Wulf the Saxon. The links to the other titles we have reviewed are at the bottom of that post. Or, you can click on the little orange Heirloom Audio Productions tag at the end of this post.

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St. Bartholomew's Eve {Heirloom Audio Reviews}

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