Delighted to share my review for The Story of the Huguenots: A Unique Legacy by Joyce Hampton.
About the book
The Huguenots were the most successful refugees to leave their homeland in search of freedom. The book tells of their questioning of the established Catholic faith in France and continues through the rise of Calvinism, the wars of religion, the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and the global diaspora of the Huguenots. It examines the national events that shaped their times, and brings to life some of their personal stories of persecution and flight, and how they travelled far and wide to begin new lives with the promise of religious and personal freedom.
The book not only tells their history but informs the reader of the numerous, diverse and ingenious inventions, many of which are still much in evidence in our lives today.
The book focuses mainly on France and the United Kingdom but within its covers can be found a kaleidoscope of information of their worldwide diaspora. Included within its pages are countless, often previously unpublished, Huguenot family histories set against the events they lived through.
The book covers 500 years of history from 1517-2017 and includes many courageous and selfless acts of Huguenot descendants during both world wars and identifies many well-known individuals who have Huguenot ancestry.
There is also information on how to research your Huguenot ancestors. The book has been described as a factual novel as it embraces both dedicated meticulous cross-referenced research with the easy read of a novel. A book with a difference that will suit both academic scholars and those who have very little knowledge of the Huguenots but would like to know more.
My review for the book October 27th 2020
This book is not just about the unique history of the Huguenots, which is compelling, tragic and inspiring, but is also how the legacy of these refugees from religious persecution enriched the lives of millions today around the world.
Covering 500 years this book takes us through the wars, revolts, betrayals and eventual sanctuary found in England and other parts of Europe, as well as the far outposts of the world in later centuries including South Africa. As refugees they were generally made welcome as the Huguenots brought with them a wealth of artisan skills which were highly regarded in their host countries, a strong moral and work ethic, and a belief in community and its well-being.
The author shares detailed histories of the countries of origin and the host nations. The Protestant and Catholic conflicts of the middle ages onward were a time of great uncertainty. Your religion was subject to a change in status on a frequent basis as kings and queens ascended the various European thrones. This included the thrones in Scotland and England during the 15th and 16th centuries.
It was fascinating to learn more about the various artisan skills that the refugees brought with them and re-established in London and some other major cities in England, Scotland and Ireland. The author gives detailed accounts of these such as silk production and spinning, gold and silver work, clocks and watchmaking, architecture and design, furniture making and printing. On the medical front leading doctors and scientists established protocols and advances in obstetrics and the establishment of pharmacies. Over the centuries Huguenot business leaders set in motion commercial ventures that are the origins of the Bank of England and our stock market.
It was interesting to discover that many well known authors, artists and actors that have brought their talent to the arts around the world were of Huguenot ancestry.
As well as the detailed history of the Huguenots as protestants from diverse nationalities, Joyce Hampton also shares the stories of individuals with a background to their reasons for seeking sanctuary, and how they brought great benefits to the adopted countries. These bring a personal element to the book that I much enjoyed, especially as it brought some people and events in my own life to mind. I had not given any thought to the name of my teacher in South Africa for example, but from the book I discovered that Miss Du Plessis was of Huguenot origins.
I can recommend this book to history lovers, genealogists and writers of historical novels as the detail and research is impeccable. For those researching their family trees it is a great reference for identifying possible Huguenot connections over the last 500 years, particularly if you originate from London or other major cities where the refugees settled.
More than anything, I came away from reading the book with a sense of hope. Today we see parallels to the religious persecution of 500 years ago, with millions still fleeing oppression and seeking sanctuary which is often denied. Without the acceptance and integration of Huguenots within our society, many of the advances in science, economics, commerce and the arts would be sadly lacking in our modern world. We need to take on board some of the lessons from the past.
Also by Joyce Hampton
About Joyce Hampton
I was born in Stratford E15 and moved around various areas of London before finally settling in Surrey with my husband John and our two cairn terriers.
I began writing in 2012 and my first book was: Looking back – A century of life in Bethnal Green, this book evolved from tracking other people’s recollections as the primary source material, partly family anecdotes, of the amusing, sad or serious into a written record. This research was supplemented by cross-checking documented events, in London libraries and archives to ensure that the book is both easy to read as well as being factually correct. I gradually found that I had created a walk through time account of the Bethnal Green area of the 19th and 20th centuries, which includes the Bethnal Green tube disaster of 1943.
My newest book is The Story of the Huguenots: A unique Legacy. It is a 500 page book but with a difference as it is a FACTUAL NOVEL in other words it has the factual history of the Huguenots but written in the expected format of a novel in the belief that the reader will find it more engaging and will want to discover more about this amazing group of people. The book is divided into four parts (all within the one book). I also take bookings for talks and lectures on the subject, including, as an example, a slot at the annual Write Idea Festival in London which was to a very appreciative audience of over 100 people.
Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed the review and will check out Joyce’s books for yourself…thanks Sally.