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From the Drop of Heaven: Legends, Prejudice, and Revenge

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What defense is there to superstition?

It’s 1582, a time when books are banned, and witches live next door. Citizens of the European principality of Salm are free to pray the way they want. However, both Catholic and Protestant fanatics surrounding them believe theirs is the only truth. Everyone is a heretic to one side or the other. Martin, an accused seditionist, seeks safety in Salm, and he teaches Nicolas, the mayor’s son, to read. Though Nicolas knows Martin’s books are banned, he cannot resist them.

Catherine Cathillon and her family live in isolation as her father’s mistrust of the church prevents her from joining the community. A chance meeting with Nicolas changes everything. He reads to Catherine, and when she learns what life is like outside their farm, she begs him to teach her to read. But class differences force them to meet in secret. During the lessons, they fall in love, but their romance is exposed, and spurned lovers swear revenge.

Lovelorn vengeance is one thing, but when one of the banned books is found in Nicolas’s shop, Catherine realizes that her father was right. Their true enemy is the man charged with saving their souls, and he will stop at nothing to reinforce his position of power.

Based on real people and events, genealogist Juliette Godot draws upon her own Renaissance-era family to bring you her award-winning debut novel From the Drop of Heaven.

296 pages, Kindle Edition

Published August 26, 2022

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About the author

Juliette Godot

1 book23 followers
Always the history nerd, Juliette Godot has been working on her genealogy since childhood. Though she never found any royal blood, she did find many noteworthy characters.

Juliette spent too many years expediting print jobs and collecting debts at a hardware co-op before dropping out of the daily grind and going back to school.

Upon graduation, she landed a software engineering position at Carnegie Mellon University and spent the next fifteen years battling deadlines and traffic. By then, she had over 40,000 ancestors cataloged, but she wanted to know more than just names on the family tree.

The quest to find her roots led her down the back roads of France to the unsung principality of Salm where superstitions were part of everyday life. The myths and legends of the Renaissance and the grit of the people steadfast in faith as war surrounded them enveloped Juliette. Writing about it was the only way she could get it out of her mind.

Juliette and her husband make their home in beautiful Western Pennsylvania. She still works on her genealogy. She likes to paint, ride Rails to Trails, babysit her grandchildren, and tend to her wildflower garden.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 67 reviews
Profile Image for Toney Baus.
Author 2 books7 followers
March 18, 2023
Oregano’s effect upon snakes and snake venom was the first detail that sold me on “From the Drop of Heaven.” You’ll have to read the book to understand why, but suffice to say, I “Googled” the terms “oregano anti snake” and discovered that the author had done significant research. I was impressed. Not everyone does the groundwork and incorporates details into a story seamlessly.
The novel reads like a fiction with historical fact for bones. The struggles, defeats, and victories come in waves, just like life. There is no “happily ever after,” but the light of hope never goes out. Evil is insidious rather than overwhelming. Even so, the author has selected an extraordinarily grim period of European history, one that makes me imagine an entire continent under the control of Afghanistan’s Taliban, especially regarding women. The extent to which people can develop wildly distorted moral compasses never ceases to amaze me.
The author also locks horns with timeless issues: how romance, corruption, disease, honor, and bigotry mold our lives. It is easy to end the book and conclude that not so much has changed since 1600 AD. Victory goes to those who refuse to stop trying or those who choose death on their own terms, and children are the force that move adults forward, no matter the disaster.
If I had to select a weak facet of the writing, I would pick the action scenes. I wanted to feel them more in my gut. This is, however, not an action adventure, so I give it five stars for being a moving, convincing historical fiction.
Profile Image for Catherine Meyrick.
Author 4 books77 followers
September 10, 2022
From the Drop of Heaven is an engrossing and unsettling story set in the Salm region of France in the late 16th century. It begins against the background of the ascendancy of Calvinists in Geneva and the St Bartholomew’s Day massacre in Paris setting the scene for the dissentions, religious rivalries and heresies that underpin the novel. The narrative concentrates on a young couple Catherine Cathillon and Nicolas de la Goutte de Paradis but takes in their extended households over a period of forty years. Catherine is from a self-sufficient and tolerant peasant family that, while Catholic, keeps itself apart from the local church and its belligerent parish priest. Nicolas is a younger son of the local blacksmith and mayor. The novel traces Catherine and Nicolas’s developing relationship and eventual marriage through a period of change across Europe where many still clung to the older beliefs and attitudes. The period in Salm saw war and plague, the havoc wrought by itinerant soldiers and deserters, religious change and the redrawing of the boundaries of states. This was not a time when it was possible to live quietly in a beautiful corner of the world.

With several characters not from the local area – marked out by their accents and in the case of Catherine’s step-grandmother the colour of her skin and of Martin, a de la Goutte de Paradis family friend, by his scarred face – From the Drop of Heaven illustrates what it is to be an outsider in a small community where memories are long and grudges and petty jealousies lovingly nursed over many years leading finally to accusations of witchcraft and heresy. Throughout the novel there is a sense of threat lurking even in the most idyllic of places whether from wolves, snakes, itinerant soldiers or spurned lovers.

Written in the third person, the story is told from a variety of points of view drawn from a wide range of characters beyond that of Catherine and Nicolas. This approach gives the reader a broad view of the daily concerns and aspirations of ordinary people at this time. Both Catherine and Nicolas are likeable characters, with their own human weaknesses and flaws, who grow from young people in their teens at the start of the novel to mature adults in their middle years.

The novel is based on the lives of Juliette Godot’s forebears – she is a direct descendant of Catherine Cathillon and Nicolas de la Goutte de Paradis. From the Drop of Heaven draws together the many threads that led to accusations of witchcraft and heresy and contributed to the upheavals of the early modern period. The interplay of superstition and religious belief is well described and set against emerging scientific knowledge. The novel clearly shows the difficulties of those seeking an ordinary life when the world was raging around them. It gives a strong sense of village life, as complex and messy as our modern lives, though far more dangerous.

I received a pre-publication copy of From the Drop of Heaven from the author.
Profile Image for SA Krishnan.
Author 35 books175 followers
February 24, 2023
Excellent and thought provoking historical fiction

The book started with Martin, who is just glad that he escaped persecution, but his teacher/master is not lucky enough. Martin is horrified at what has happened to his teacher and tries to get far away from it.

The story shifts to Catherine and Anna - the beautiful Anna who has taken care of her younger siblings and the plain Catherine who is rebelling under her sister's attempts to 'control' her. Seems to be a normal situation, but the scenario is anything but that.

The Mayor's sons and Nicolas end up at the place and an adder's bite makes things worse, bringing the 'witch' into the story.

After that the story mostly goes to Catherine and Nicholas and through them the life of their times. Martin had taught Nicolas about the truth of the banned books and that had changed Nicolas's life. Martin and Anna's life is intertwined mostly because of their connection to Catherine. The romance between Catherine and Nicolas seemed inevitable and dangerous at the same time. 

The story takes the readers back to a really horrific time when untold horror was committed in the name of religion. The tragic lives of the 'normal' people in the sixteenth century when the Church was divided - that backdrop was beautifully etched in the pages of the book. The ease with which lies were spread and distrust spread among everyone was truly scary to read about. 

The religious zealots, and constant skirmishes apart, the plague also took a terrible toll on the society and that was also brought out well in the book. In between all this, women were accused of witchcraft and took the dangers out of proportion.

Anna and Martin were two characters who came out surprisingly well on their own to bring out the good in the times, despite the terrible things that had happened all around.

The research that the author must have carried out to portray an authentic feel of the times must be specially mentioned. The characters themselves - Catherine specially, Anna and so many others all come and explain the times that they lived and explain how politics and religion were so closely connected and caused damage to the normal people. 

Excellent, informative and eye-opening historic fiction.
Profile Image for KD Sherrinford..
19 reviews9 followers
June 25, 2023
I remember feeling traumatised as a kid after watching Vincent Price's terrifying portrayal of Matthew Hopkins in Witchfinder General.
So I approached Juliette Godot's " From The Drop of Heaven" with some trepidation. But I needn't have worried. Despite some harrowing scenes in the first chapter, I soon realised I was in the hands of a skilled and accomplished storyteller.
This is an outstanding piece of literature set in France in the 16th century. It's a love story following the lives of Martin and Catherine during a time of bigotry, heretics, sorcerers and witches. Martin and Catherine's remarkable coming-of-age journey, what they go through with their families, and how they battle the odds to survive in the face of adversity. Beautifully written and well-researched, with well-rounded characters. This will delight fans of Historical Fiction.
I loved how the author cleverly used genealogy to unite History and fiction. I highly recommend From The Drop of Heaven. It's Five Stars from me.

Profile Image for Caley Brennan.
162 reviews16 followers
September 30, 2023
[I was given a free copy of the book by the author in exchange for a review through Voracious Readers Only]

This was an amazing historical fiction novel and definitely the most immersive and authentic work in its genre that I've read in recent memory. The story grabbed my attention immediately and I could hardly put it down because I got attached to the characters so quickly and wanted to find out what would happen to them in the midst of all the religious prejudice, violence, superstition, and tragedy of life in sixteenth-century rural France. I was impressed with Godot's ability to not only find her ancestors from thirteen generations back, but to use the few things she was able to discover to weave a beautiful and heartbreaking story about what all of their lives may have very well been like, which explains why they and their setting feel so real. Her description-rich writing is also a joy to read and absolutely does her novel about the persistence of the human spirit as well as both familial and romantic love in the face of cruelty and suffering prejudice. I loved this book and I'm certain that readers who enjoy historical fiction centered on multiple families and generations such as Random Passage will also.
Profile Image for Stacey Faubion.
Author 2 books8 followers
April 10, 2023

Don’t miss this family saga about courage, survival, heartache, injustice, and love.

I was enraptured by Catherine & Nicholas’s story and read this book cover to cover in less than 24 hours. I was surprised to be enthralled in a story set in the 1500’s- but there I was late in the night telling myself that lie readers love to tell, “just one more chapter.”

One of my favorite reads! If you’re looking for a love story and not just another romance book to read- this is it! It’s gritty, unflinching, & unforgettable.
Profile Image for Dagmar Rokita.
Author 4 books14 followers
August 26, 2023
Absolutely mind-blowing historical novel!

While I usually don't read books with much romance and slice of life elements, I love books that force readers to think. This novel does it perfectly – it confronts the readers with diverse ideas, choices and religions. To fully understand it, the readers have to leave their comfort zone and look at it from a broader perspective.

Another thing that made me tap the 5 stars was the characters. Maybe they aren't relatable to me personally, but they're realistic and I could understand their decisions. Their relationships are mature and true-to-life, just way different than what you see in the "romance" bestseller sections. Oh, and everyone is hiding something, so that only adds more tension.

I'm used to books with faster action, and here I had a nice variation. The pace is slower, which let's me get involved into this book and feel its unique atmosphere, but it had one small downside – I noticed a lack of details in some characters' interactions. It still doesn't change my opinion too much, I'm giving 4.9 stars.

Profile Image for Jonathan Lucci.
Author 1 book2 followers
August 31, 2023
Well researched: check ✔️
Interesting characters: ✔️
Engaging plot: ✔️

The setting was really interesting. I had never read anything that took place in Alsace-Lorraine. I had to keep reading to find out what happened next to the characters. I loved all the different romantic relationships in the book and wanted happy endings for all of them.

The book ties up all its plot lines nicely and still leaves a comfortable bit of room for interpretation.

My only complaint would be that I didn’t understand till later in the book where the setting actually was and where the phrase, Drop of Heaven came into play.

But these did not effect how much I enjoyed reading it. It was the kind of book I would recommend to my friend going on vacation.
Profile Image for James Dubbs.
Author 4 books
January 23, 2023
Well written book set in the 16th century. I enjoyed the deep character development and the historical context.
Profile Image for Caroline Hurry.
Author 8 books24 followers
April 8, 2023
From the Drop of Heaven by Juliette Godot is a masterpiece that seamlessly blends historical fact and fiction, creating a truly captivating story. The author's use of her ancestors as characters adds a personal touch that elevates this novel to a remarkable piece of literature.
The story follows Martin, a seditionist who flees execution and finds refuge in the Salm region of France. There, he meets and teaches young Nicholas, son of the local mayor, about banned scientific and medical research in the late 16th century. Catherine, from a self-sufficient and tolerant Catholic peasant family, meets Nicholas by chance, and they fall in love, defying the odds with an impossible romance that spans 40 years.
The author expertly weaves their love story with the historical events and evolving political and religious landscape surrounding them. The couple's relationship blossoms amidst war, plague, religious divisions, and heresies. Catherine and Nicholas are both likable characters who mature and grow throughout the story.
The novel depicts the insatiable appetite for hatred and violence against differing religions ensnaring many during this period. Against the backdrop of the rise of Calvinism and the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre of Huguenots in France, the sense of threat that lurks even in idyllic places is palpable. The author highlights the interplay between superstition and religious belief against the emerging scientific knowledge of the time.
From the Drop of Heaven offers a vivid depiction of village life, with all its complexities and dangers. The novel serves as a reminder of the difficulties faced by those seeking an ordinary life in a world torn by upheaval. The author's masterful storytelling transports readers to a time marked by religious strife, rampant disease, and accusations of witchcraft.
This book is a roller coaster ride of emotions, with heartbreaking moments intertwined with amusing and joyful ones. The author's meticulous research of historical records creates compelling personalities and intricate subplots. The novel provides a poignant reminder of the high cost of staying true to oneself, even in the face of great adversity.
Overall, From the Drop of Heaven is an outstanding read that captivated me from beginning to end. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction. It's a five-star masterpiece that will leave a lasting impression.
Profile Image for Mc Chanster.
440 reviews
November 19, 2022
Wow, this was a heart-wrenching novel. It made me laugh, and cry, and gasp in surprise, or glee, and I loved every moment of it.

From the Drop of Heaven follows Catherine Cathillon and Nicolas de la Goutte de Paradis. She is a farmer’s daughter, he is a mayor’s son, and the two are very much deeply in love. Unfortunately, there is more than just the caste system that keeps them apart. Catherine and Nicolas are forced to turn away from their love, but neither can forget the other and eventually, they find their way back together. They want to live in peace, but in a time where people were constantly targeted and accused of witchcraft, every action and every word must be watched. War, plague and the ever constant fight for religious dominance rage just outside their doorstep and while they have friends, their families also have enemies who want nothing more than for them to disappear.

A stunningly written novel, and even moreso realizing that this is actually part of Godot’s history. Being a direct descendent of the two main characters, the author does a phenomenal job telling their story. I was immediately invested in Catherine and Nicolas and I loved that she didn’t try to romanticize the situation. They were both human, and flawed, and that made me love them all that much more. I have to admit, I did not expect the ending, but in many ways, it makes sense, and I still found myself going through a gauntlet of emotions in the final chapters. Full of lush descriptions and detail, Godot provides a beautiful, but also terrifying snapshot into what it was like in Europe during the sixteenth century. Wonderfully done and highly recommended!

Thank you Voracious Readers and Juliette Godot for my copy! I received an ARC of this novel and I am voluntarily leaving a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Ashley.
24 reviews
October 26, 2022
What a truly amazing novel this was. From the Drop of Heaven follows two families in France in the late 1500s. All over Europe during this time people were often accused of practicing witchcraft and the majority of the accused were women. Anything from using herbs as a medicine or birth control, to the plague, could land someone in prison for practicing witchcraft. Once imprisoned the accused would be questioned and tortured until they said whatever the inquisitor wanted them to say. They would then be forced into a sham of a trial and eventually executed. The mode of execution that the powers that be enjoyed using on a “witch” was to burn them alive. Throughout this novel you learn how these two families constantly lived under the threat of being accused of witchcraft. Any enemy made was a person who could potentially accuse them of witchcraft. The families also had to deal with a particularly corrupt priest who enjoyed harming children.

It has been awhile since a book has made me cry, but I cried at the end of this book. I felt so invested in the characters and even more so after learning this novel is about the author’s ancestors. Grab this book, you won’t regret it.
Profile Image for Ashley.
24 reviews
October 26, 2022
What a truly amazing novel this was. From the Drop of Heaven follows two families in France in the late 1500s. All over Europe during this time people were often accused of practicing witchcraft and the majority of the accused were women. Anything from using herbs as a medicine or birth control, to the plague, could land someone in prison for practicing witchcraft. Once imprisoned the accused would be questioned and tortured until they said whatever the inquisitor wanted them to say. They would then be forced into a sham of a trial and eventually executed. The mode of execution that the powers that be enjoyed using on a “witch” was to burn them alive. Throughout this novel you learn how these two families constantly lived under the threat of being accused of witchcraft. Any enemy made was a person who could potentially accuse them of witchcraft. The families also had to deal with a particularly corrupt priest who enjoyed harming children.

It has been awhile since a book has made me cry, but I cried at the end of this book. I felt so invested in the characters and even more so after learning this novel is about the author’s ancestors. Grab this book, you won’t regret it.
1 review
September 12, 2022
A compelling and well written historical novel that totally absorbs the reader. This historical novel brings to life the challenges of living in a time of fear, distrust and divisiveness that is just as relevant today as in the late 16th century. I found myself drawing parallels to modern day as Godot wove a tale of love, family loyalties, jealousy, superstition, and revenge. It is a compelling story set in dangerous times where books are banned and witches are burned at the stake. I was drawn into the story of Catherine and Nicolas’s lives from the very beginning and couldn’t put the book down until the bittersweet ending.
Profile Image for Marco Santucci.
Author 2 books13 followers
May 12, 2023
I am so very glad I read this book. If it hadn't been for being a part of the review section, I would not have even read the description. I was pulled into the reality of this historical time so easily, since I have studied the Protestant Reformation for my own reasons. The author did a fantastic job with the story line, making it flow incredibly well. I found myself cheering and despising certain characters along the way. The reminder of the reality of history can be more than eye opening- Thank you Juliette, for bringing this story to life.
1 review
September 11, 2022
I loved this book! This book has everything: history, romance, mystery, drama, intrigue. There were so many twists and turns that I couldn’t put the book down and had to keep reading. The characters of Catherine and Nicolas were very well developed and you will find yourself invested in their story. I especially thought it was cool that this was based on a true story about the author’s ancestors. Would definitely recommend to fans of historical fiction.
September 24, 2022
I found the book hard to put down! The characters are well developed and I found myself rooting for them through love stories, catastrophic illness and tragic persecution. Sadly, the picture it paints of self-righteous people doing terrible things to other people in the name of being RIGHT, coming from ALL SIDES of a religious disagreement is so familiar to what we see currently in the politics of our nation. Juliette has done a great job pulling us in and giving use a view into their world.
Profile Image for Shelly Neinast.
Author 4 books19 followers
April 13, 2023
A walk of faith

A great heart felt half fiction half true story set during the 1500s of the love between to people. It showed l what life was like during the dark times in Europe with the Black Death, poverty, ignorance of religious beliefs in burning healers as witches and other misinformation during that era. The author used her extensive accounts from her ancestors as the bases of her story mixed with fiction that took a creative mind to intertwine a great novel.
1 review
September 12, 2022
A wonderfully written story of a family whose lives would have turned out so different if not for lies, rumors, jealousy, betrayal and deceit this book has it all. It was a tragic reminder of the way things were. But the story was also filled with love and hope that in the end all would be well, even if it was not planned.
October 4, 2022
A compelling story of a divided community at a fascinating time in history.

Such interesting social history, made real through Godot's fascinating characters. Their struggles, personalities and hopes drive a richly told story. Their interactions, informed by the historical context, keeps the reader engaged and curious.
1 review
October 7, 2022
Loved this book! Francisca’s knowledge for healing, that helped so many and the risks She had to take at great costs. The stories of Love and loss, kept Me not wanting to stop reading. Highly recommend this book.
1 review
November 5, 2022
Godot’s break out novel was captivating from page 1!! Her depiction of the towns and era literally had me believing that I was in that scene at that moment. If you’re a fan of historical fiction like me (and even if you’re not), you will thoroughly enjoy the twists and turns of this story.
October 13, 2022
This is a fantastic story of family history, local tradition, folklore and so much more. From the Drop of Heaven is very well researched with great attention paid to historical accuracy.
1 review
November 17, 2022
The book was a very interesting historical read. It had well thought out, believable story lines and characters. It kept me interested until the end!!
208 reviews1 follower
February 19, 2023
well researched

well researched and eye opening and easy to read and plenty of facts and food for thought whenever your conversation runs dry
Profile Image for Roberta Cheadle.
Author 16 books111 followers
April 24, 2023
Up front I must stay that this book revolves around the burning of heretics, sorcerers and witches in the Holy Roman Empire during the 16th century and, while not graphic, is still deeply disturbing. Sensitive readers could find these and selected other scenes upsetting.

I am a huge fan of historical fiction and don't know a lot about this particular period of Holy Roman Empire history although I do know about the Huguenots, Calvinists, and other protestant movements more generally.

The book starts with one of the supporting characters, Martin, watching the burning of his professor from the University of Geneva as a heretic. Martin flees to his parents home in Paris.

Catherine lives with her family on a farm in Salm. Her sister, Anne, and Catherine come across a trio of young men while out for a walk. One of the young men is Martin, cousin the the two sons of the mayor of the closest village. Nicolas, the younger son, is bitten by a snake during this encounter and the reader quickly learns that Catherine's grandmother is a herbalist or healer. This talent and the fact that she is a foreigner from gypsy origins, make Meme the subject of speculation and gossip by the villagers who fear her as a witch. Meme's reputation among the villagers has created difficulties for Catherine's family who don't attend the local church and don't socialise much. They also have a bad relationship with the local priest, Father Michel.

This is a love story, but it is more than that because it is based on the real events of the Cathillon and de la Goutte de Paradis families in Salm during the religious persecution that followed the Protestant Revolution in the 16th century. The book is well written and researched and gradually peels back the layers of society at that time, revealing the doctrines and prejudices of society and how people modelled their lives to accommodate the uncertainty and threats surrounding them.

I really enjoyed the character of Catherine who was clearly highly intelligent and questioning by nature. She was a natural target for suspicion and dislike due to her good looks and forthright behaviour and beliefs. The reputation of her grandmother also counted heavily against her. The entire Cathillon family lived carefully and fearfully, always on the defensive. Meme was a skilled healer who had to hide her talents because of the superstitious natures and ignorance of the people around her. This same deception extended to, and impacted the entire family, who all tried to live quietly and not attract any attention to themselves.

Nicolas, his brother, and Martin become embroiled with the Cathillon family, who help them medically a few times. Despite their wealth and position, the de la Goutte de Paradis family become tainted by association and that puts in motion the string of events that form the basis of the plot.

The growth in Nicolas from an impressionable and easily led teenager to a young man of purpose and who knows his own mind is interesting to watch. He was an affable and affectionate character, and despite his failings, was easy to like.

I enjoyed this book and learned a lot through reading it. The story line is interesting and engaging and the characters will drawn. I highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Rik Ty.
Author 26 books24 followers
July 4, 2023
This is not a short book, but it’s a smooth read, and it flies by.


This is a historic novel that illustrates the customs and modes of life of some European people in the late 1500s. The book is rich in detail, but it never feels forced, and it never bogs down in dates or info dumps. It winds up being about a few extended families in a small rural community, chiefly the families of a young woman and a young man who wouldn’t mind dating each other but find the path to that goal full of obstacles. I enjoyed reading about this couple very much, and I found the story of their courtship interesting and charming.

In a way, this is the story of two plagues that cause endless problems for the people in this novel—one is the bubonic plague that we are all familiar with. It touches this community indirectly (and only for a short period within the novel). The plague reaches a nearby town, and some family members sneak through quarantines to help afflicted loved ones.

The second plague is one we are all much less familiar with, but one that directly causes misery for the characters we come to like so much in this novel. It is the plague of scheming accusations. It is not uncommon in this novel for someone to accuse someone else of witchcraft or sorcery and to have the accusation taken seriously. The accusations seem to be made for a host of reasons—lusting after someone else’s land or possessions might be one reason, or someone might blurt out someone else’s name while being tortured to confess to practicing the black arts, or accusations might grow out of petty gripes or gossip—any of these might be used against anyone at any time, and the accusations are often acted upon. It takes what would otherwise be a nice story about people living within their environment and continually makes that peaceful (though arduous) way of life fraught with danger.

These plagues visit everyone in the novel, with different results for the various characters. I won’t say more because it would give too much away. I will say that even when the events are heartbreaking, they are also interesting (schemes within local politics and through legal customs are also explored).

The prose is not overly complex, so this book would be fine for almost any age group. 10 might be too young, but a smart 13-year-old would be fine with this material, as would a smart 60-year-old. It’s an undemanding, very human book, with a lot of interesting peeks into life during another time in human history—but this should be said—during the times of terrible stress in these characters’ lives, this book becomes something higher—an ode to the injustices suffered by voiceless innocents at the hands of fanatical “authorities” and their all too eager henchmen.

Viva Godot! Well done!
Profile Image for Bella Nox.
Author 6 books144 followers
September 18, 2023
From the Drop of Heaven: Legends, Prejudice, and Revenge by Juliette Godot was a difficult story to read and an even more difficult story to review.
I went into it not knowing what to expect from a book that takes place in the 1500s because there's really a lot of interesting possibilities during that time period.

The first part of the book was basically story building and character naming making it hard for me to pick up on any hints of what to expect. It started off content-heavy and light on main events to push the story forward. The pacing of the first part was strange to me because there were many chapters that ended somewhat abruptly and still the story slowly moves on.
But the second part was the opposite, like the author decided it was time to shove the story forward. It races by. Suddenly a few days, months, years have passed and there is really a lot going on and a few very unexpected things.
The drama that happened later in the story really pushed the characters around in a nice and engaging way.
Not a fan of spoilers, so no key details to give the good stuff away, but I would have liked to read more of certain events within the story, if those scenes were longer. I guess IYKYK. And if the first part had the same amount of interesting and unexpected events, it would have changed the entire story, and I would have enjoyed all of it rather than just part of it.

So because I didn't love the structure of the story, it's a solid 3(.5) star book for me but because the author took real people and real events and blended them into this story, I'll bump to 4 stars because I found that fascinating. It impresses me that she put the effort and time into the research to develop this. The knowledge of the history and the ways of the world during that time period were really quite impressive.

Profile Image for Zita Harrison.
Author 5 books93 followers
March 6, 2023
This is a love story set against the backdrop of 16th-century Europe, a time of intellectual darkness. A period ruled by religious power and superstition, intolerance, ignorance, a time of conspiracies, phony trials, hypocrisy. Phew! Hope I didn’t forget anything! People live peering over their shoulders in constant fear of being tortured and burned as witches. It reminded me of novels like “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” by Victor Hugo, “A Tale of Two Cities” by Dickens.

Catherine, a farmer’s daughter, and Nicolas, the son of a mayor, are drawn to one another in what seems like an impossible romance. But their love will not be denied, and we see it develop over forty years through the changing landscape around them; the challenges to traditional religions, the rise of the Huguenots, Calvinists, etc. that slowly led to the Scientific Revolution and the advent of the Age of Enlightenment.

It's a fascinating period in history, making you glad you don’t live in that time and place, and appreciative of the level of science and intellectualism we enjoy. But it also echoes of similar dark undertones stewing in current times. Yikes! A reminder of the direction society could take if we’re not mindful and vigilant.

The author puts us right in the thick of things with vivid details and descriptions of the towns and circumstances. The characters are well developed through dialogue and actions, and how they deal with the chaos in the world accompanying their story. Full of hair-raising personalities and events that keep your attention throughout. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Yves Fey.
Author 3 books134 followers
September 14, 2023
I was in a quandry about how to rate this book. I decided on 4 stars for it strong points though a lot of it was a basic 3 star for me. It’s well-written overall, the occasional cliché, sometimes a lovely poetic phrase. One of the virtues of the book for other readers was how the author took us into the lives of ordinary people. I totally agree that this is one of the book’s strengths, but I’m a bit of a snob and I prefer to read about extraordinary people. The characters were very sympathetic, but only so-so interesting to me. One of the most enjoyable parts was the description of herbal lore for healing. I often felt jerked around in the book by the time leaps. It’s often months later or weeks later and I couldn’t understand why it was structured that way. Well, because it turns out it’s inspired by the author’s family quest and these were real people and a reconstructed history. So, very cool, but it still affected my experience of reading the novel. The research is excellent, probably 5 stars for that. I did have a stunned moment when one of the inquisitor’s said “Nevertheless, she persisted.” What was a modern in-joke doing in this historical novel? Yes, I laughed, though the scene wasn’t funny, but I was totally taken out of the novel. Anyhow, this is an interesting exploration of ordinary, innocent people being trapped in the prejudices of the time. I was very effected by the malice of zealots, how they were continuous hunting for reasons to accuse and destroy people. All too relevant throughout the centuries, though not always as all-encompassing.
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