The Unfortunate Son – Constance Leeds

unfortunate sonA powerful and cruel nobleman throws out his newborn son because he was born with only one ear.  The nursemaid raises the child as her own and calls him Luc.  Hated by the man Luc thinks is his father, he finally has enough and leaves home for the welcoming fisherman’s family in the nearby fishing village on the French Mediterranean coast.   He blends in wonderfully with aging fisherman Pons, his sister Mattie and her charge, the Lady Beatrice.  Beatrice has her own story that of course is entwined with Luc’s.  While out fishing with Pons, Luc is captured by slavers.  In northern Africa, the wealthy, wise and respected Salah buys Luc and begins to educate him.  Luc has landed in the best possible situation and while still a slave, he is educated and loved.  Will Luc ever be reunited with Beatrice?

Set in the 15th century, the story alternates between France and Tunisia.  The author deftly weaves her well researched knowledge of the period into her characters.  Plenty of descriptions of food too!  Salah is the wise elder that everyone would be fortunate to know.  I need to go back through and note Salah’s many sayings.  More than historical fiction, it is the story of characters, culture, adventure, and perseverance.  Highly recommend!

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