I am pleased to announce the Readers’ Favorite 5-Star Review of the Fiction – Historical – Event/Era book “From the Drop of Heaven.”
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Readers’ Favorite 5-Star Review
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Review by Saifunnissa Hassam
Juliette Godot’s From the Drop of Heaven: Legends, Prejudice, and Revenge is historical fiction inspired by the author’s 16th-century French ancestors. Catherine Cathillon de la Goutte de Paradis was Godot’s thirteenth-generation grandmother. The family name “de la Goutte de Paradis” provides the title of the novel (which translates as ‘from the drop of heaven’) and refers to the beautiful Salm area in the French Vosges mountains.
Set in the town of Vacquenoux in Salm, the account centers around the Cathillon and de la Goutte de Paradis families and follows the lives of three characters through the decades. The story begins when Catherine Cathillon was a young girl from a family of farmers. Nicolas de la Goutte de Paradis’s father, Jean, was a blacksmith and the mayor of Vacquenoux. Martin was a student in Geneva when his professor was burned at the stake for sedition. He found refuge in Vacquenoux with Nicolas’s family. Martin shares the banned books he receives from Strasbourg with Nicolas. Catherine learns to read from Nicolas. Their lives unfold through the years, with a constant undercurrent of danger from religious and political turmoil.
I enjoyed From the Drop of Heaven for its compelling characters, particularly Catherine Cathillon, Nicolas de la Goutte de Paradis, and Martin. I became immersed in the tangled web of their storylines from the outset. I liked the different backgrounds of the three major characters. Catherine is from a farming family, Nicolas becomes a silversmith, while Martin manages the Vacquenoux stables. I loved their character development, their inner journeys, and the drama of interactions within families and with other characters.
I loved the interwoven narrative of how books draw them together. Catherine’s inner journey was the most profound, from her early days on the farm to her incredible courage when faced with persecution. Martin’s character comes into its own in the latter part of the novel when the Cathillon and de la Goutte de Paradis families face unexpected struggles for survival. I loved the rich evocative descriptions of Vacquenoux, its La Grande-Courty river, and the valley of Lac de la Maix. Juliette Godot’s book is gripping, with memorable characters, life in 16th-century France, unflinching courage, resilience, and hope.