This is a historical family saga - tragic romance. I had originally written it as more of an outline and got nowhere, so I took a step back and tried to write it more as an overview. I'd love opinions.
Amid the unrest of the Renaissance, fifteen-year-old Catherine aches to learn about life outside her family farm in the Vosges Mountains of Salm. She convinces Nicolas, son of the blacksmith to teach her to read. During the lessons, they fall in love.
In the 16th century, marriage contracts are negotiated more for reputation and economic alliances than love, and Nicolas’ mother force the couple apart. When a family tragedy throws them together, they realize they are meant for each other, and against all odds, they marry. Happy ending? No. Sadly, real people and events have inspired story and a romantic fairy-tale ending is not their destiny.
Catherine’s foreign-born Mémé heals with herbs and accusations of witchcraft stalk her and her family. Plague swirls throughout the region. Though Mémé risks her life to save plague victims, she is blamed for spreading the disease. Faced with the stake, she chooses to take her life by her own hand.
As Nicolas and his family work hard to achieve success, enemies turn the villagers against them. Nicolas borrows a book of medicine, and his life is never the same: A former lover betrays Nicolas and contracts his murder. His body is thrown on a bonfire of books. Catherine employs a method of healing mentioned in the text and it works too well. She is accused of witchcraft, tried, and sentenced to the stake.
In her final vision, Nicolas comes for her on his horse, pulls her onto the saddle, kisses her, and carries her to the heavens. Her body is laid to rest beside Mémé, in the shadow of the Blessed Mother’s Chapel at Lake de la Maix while a family friend plays his violin. The music rising from the lake prompts another legend, that of the Devil Fiddler. That legend still exists today.