I have read a good amount of church history and honestly, to my shame, I had never heard of Renee of France.
I am always excited to learn of new people I had never read of before.
Spoiler Alert!!! The rest of this review contains a summary of the book.
Renee was a French princess and Italian duchess who corresponded with John Calvin during the reformation. She was torn between the Roman Catholic Church and the Reformed faith. Many considered her as the first prominent French noblewoman to profess Calvinism. Reformation supporters took refuge with her.
Calvin often wrote her concerning compromise. Some had convinced her that compromise was best so that those within her sphere of influence would not be offended. Calvin told her that Christian liberty should not be an excuse for breaking God's commands.
She was not only a duchess, but also a wife, mother and friend. She hosted a large library that consisted of Reformed books and treaties.
During the persecution of Protestants, she tried to convince her husband not to prosecute them, but was unsuccessful. She took into her house many who were under persecution from the Roman Catholic Church. Her husband brought in an inquisitor to try and change his wife’s convictions toward reformation doctrine. He even imprisoned her, trying to force her to once again accept Rome. He removed all her friends and her books.
Finally she capitulated and returned to Rome. She went to Mass and confession once again. She tended to fluctuate back and forth. For the rest of her life. Calvin tried to encourage her to stand with the gospel.
The book ends with a discussion of Calvin’s doctrinal views on Rome and the letters he wrote to Renee.
This book was a very good read. It is written almost like a novel and keeps you interested till the very end. I highly recommend it.
I give it 5 out of 5 stars.
*I received this book, free of charge, from EP Publishing and Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review.
Check out a great interview with the author.