As a lover of biography and a father of two beautiful daughters, I’m always eager to find good books about women that my daughters can read when ready. Renée of France didn’t disappoint. It was short, to the point, and packed with interesting tidbits. Carr explains the core emphasis of this biography,
Although Renée belonged to the nobility of that time, the course of events kept her focused on some basic questions of faith — the same ones that many of us face. (p. 13)
It’s true I’ve never faced many of the struggles she did as a royal but I did connect with Renée on the “basic questions of faith.” She struggles with leaving the tradition and faith of her family and youth. I’ve been there. She struggles with living out her faith publicly. Me too. It’s much easier often to answer important questions of faith in our own life when we see those same questions played out in other’s life in history. Renée of France provides this.
One of those interesting tidbits I mentioned is the relationship between Renée and the Reformers, especially John Calvin.
A major element in Renée’s life is her correspondence with the French Reformer, John Calvin, which continues for most of her life and opens a window on less familiar aspects of his soul. Of all his correspondence with women, his letters to Renée are unique, revealing a close bond of friendship. Calvin often feels free to reveal his struggles to her in a way he would not do with others, and she talks openly and trustingly about her puzzlement, fear, and exasperation. In the background, the distinctive struggles of the Reformation in Italy and France evolve rapidly before our eyes. (p. 14)
Their correspondence provides the map to constructing her story and provides a glimpse into the pastoral heart of John Calvin (pp. 73, 121).
The story is told well. I was engaged throughout this short read and will be reading it to my daughters shortly. For all lovers of biography and reformation history this book would be a valued addition to your library.
A free copy of this book was provided by Evangelical Press as part of the Cross Focused Blog Tour. If you plan on purchasing Renée of France, consider supporting Grace for Sinners by purchasing from Amazon.