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Christian biography author, Simonetta Carr’s new book, Marie Durand – Christian Biographies for Young Readers, introduces the courageous life of Marie Durand. Growing up, I read few Christian biographies before the age of 30. It is exciting to see Ms. Carr’s dedication to reviving and retelling stories of incredible faith and bravery by those facing hardship, imprisonment, and even death for their belief in Christ Jesus. While written for young readers, all ages will enjoy Marie Durand’s life story.
In light of last week’s horrific campus shootings in Oregon and the continued martyrdom of Christians in the Middle East, Marie Durand takes on special significance to encourage believers.
Marie Durand grew up in 17th century France when worshipping as a Protestant Christian was outlawed. Catholicism was the state religion and preaching the gospel or being caught attending a gathering was met with exile or imprisonment. Believers often fled to Switzerland, Holland, and Germany and were forced to forfeit their properties to the King of France. In addition, parents were forced by law to leave children under the age of seven behind to be raised in the Catholic faith and to send back payment for room and board.
As newlyweds, Marie and her husband were imprisoned along with her aging father. It was the government’s attempt to draw out her brother Pierre, a preacher. Her father and husband were sent to Fort Brescou, an island prison in the Mediterranean Sea. Marie was imprisoned in the Tower of Constance in the town of Aigues-Mortes.
Her story is not one of happy-ever-afters, at least not while she lived. She was eventually released from prison 38 years later, her testimony one of preseverance under tremendous trail. She was given opportunity for release if she would do one thing–deny her faith. Resisting, Marie Durand stood firm, encouraging fellow prisoners to follow in the sufferings of Christ.
My boys were intrigued by Marie Durand’s story. As I read aloud, we stopped often to discuss concepts such as hiding Bibles, going to church in secret, being imprisoned simply for loving and following Jesus, and the faithfulness of God in difficult situations. As we read a chapter at a time, one Scripture that continually made its way into our talks was Matthew 10:33: “But whoever denies me here on earth, I will deny before my Father in heaven.”
Marie Durand is a hardcover book written by Simonetta Carr and illustrated beautifully by Matt Abraxas. Watercolor drawings along with actual location photos bring the story to life. It will stay in my family for generations–I look forward to reading it to my grandchildren one day, should the Lord tarry. Growing up without the encouragement of stories of the faith, I have intentionally begun this tradition with my children. A book such as this is perfect for family read-alouds.
Ms. Carr graciously sent me a copy of the book to read with my children. The opinion I am expressing is my own. I was not paid or asked to provide a favorable review in exchange for anything.