Book Review: The Burning Chambers

(The Burning Chambers #1)
06.18.2019 | Minotaur Books
Rating: 4/5 stars


France, 1562: Minou Joubert is a nineteen-year-old growing up in a world filled with religious tensions between the Catholics and the Huguenots. For a while it seemed as though her family would avoid any consequences from the ongoing war surrounding them, but it appears they won’t be as luck as they had hoped. Minou’s father is dealing with struggles related to the war that he keeps buried deep down instead of sharing with his family. As a result, Minou must step up as head of household.

Soon Minou finds herself in the possession of an anonymous letter sealed with a distinctive family crest. All the letter says is “She knows that you live”. Minou has no idea who the letter could be from or what the message means. In her quest to get to the truth Minou has a chance encounter with a young Huguenot, Piet Reydon, who will soon play a bigger role in her life than she could ever imagine. Follow Minou’s journey as works to discover what has happened with her father, who has written her this strange letter, and avoid being caught in a religious war.

Old crimes cast long shadows…

Kate Mosse’s THE BURNING CHAMBERS is a staggering almost 600 page commitment of a journey into the religious wars that took place in France in the mid-1500s. I’m a huge fan of historical fiction, but have never been drawn to this time period before. When Minotaur Books reached out to me about reviewing THE BURNING CHAMBERS there was something about the possibility of exploring a new timeline with a fascinating synopsis that I simply couldn’t decline.

I love reading a chunky book, but it always feels like I have to work up the courage to start the book. Once I’m in and hooked, I have no issues dedicating several hours to the lives of those within the pages of the story I’m reading. Since this book was so far out of my comfort zone, my nerves were pretty high before opening this book. Rest assured for those in the same boat, Kate Mosse’s writing will sweep you away! Her writing is effortless and she transforms a complicated premise into something incredibly readable.

Fear and pain loosen a man’s tongue, but so too can kindness.

One of the things that makes this book such a winner is the cast of characters. Minou is a strong, determined, and bold main character who leads the bulk of this story. She’s incredibly likeable and easy for the reader to want to cheer along in her journey as the story goes on. My favorite character easily goes to Piet, however, who slides in and stole the show with a fascinating storyline. I loved where each character’s individual storyline went, as well as how they ultimately converged.

I would recommend THE BURNING CHAMBERS for anyone who enjoys historical fiction. There is a definitely subplot filed with a great mystery, but it doesn’t sit front and center. As a diehard crime fiction reader, I loved that that element was present just under the surface and didn’t mind that it wasn’t the main focus. I know that page count may scare off many readers, but I assure you that this one is worth the commitment.

This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: Thank you to Minotaur Books for providing me with free copy in exchange for my honest review!

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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