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Review | The Burning Chambers

By Kate Mosse

Published : 7th May 2021

Publisher : Pan Macmillan

Format : Kindle, Hardback, Audio, Paperback

Genre : Historical Fiction

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Carcassonne 1562. Nineteen-year-old Minou Joubert receives an anonymous letter at her fatherโ€™s bookshop. Sealed with a distinctive family crest, it contains just five words: SHE KNOWS THAT YOU LIVE.

But before Minou can decipher the mysterious message, a chance encounter with a young Huguenot convert, Piet Reydon, changes her destiny forever. For Piet has a dangerous mission of his own, and he will need Minouโ€™s help if he is to get out of La Citรฉ alive . . .

A thrilling adventure, and a heart-breaking love story, Europe awaits in The Burning Chambers. A historical novel of excitement, conspiracy and danger like no other . . .

My Review

This is the first book to this epic series, the second being The City Of Tears.

Told over multiple narratives, this story focuses around the 1500's and the persecution of Huguenots in France. The detail and atmosphere used to describe the religious wars and evereything that is a consequence to them is strikingly vivid. I literally felt like I was there.

Minou is a young woman, living with her father, little sister and brother in Carcasonne, France. Her father is a bookseller and after the death of their mother Minou has taken the lead role in caring for her family.

Tensions over the right to worship are already simmering and being a catholic family they would normally be quite safe but her fathers bookshop offers a wide array of religious texts and this has caused them to have the shop attacked, which in turn added to Minou's anxiety that another attack could be imminent, that and her fathers whole outlook towards life has taken a huge drop since he came back from his recent travels, but he won't say why.

A serendipitous moment leads her to bumping into a man who is on the run and accused of murder, she knows this to be untrue as the man apparently murdered that day was seen the day before, she helps him get away and in return he offers her his debt to come and ask of him whenever she might need it.

Minou can not stop thinking about this man and eventually seeks him out when she is sent with her troublesome brother to live with her aunt in Toulouse.

Piet is also in Carcassonne on a mission, he must sell the precious item he has on him to raise money for the Huguenot cause. Unfortunately he can not resist visiting an old college friend he grew up with but he is no longer in contact with in the hopes to reconcile, this man is a part of the church and Piet soon finds out that he is not to be trusted.

The other narrative is from an unknown woman, she makes it very clear all the way through that she has an intention to get what she wants and that she will stop at nothing to get it. As the story progresses the narratives all come together to reveal the reason behind the hidden woman's deadly intent and why it involves Minou.

Piet and Minou try to stay Alive in extremely dangerous times, whilst at the same time avoiding people that are hell bent on making them suffer fore things that are out of their control...

Why I Loved It

The Burning Chambers contains all the elements a reader desperately craves in a historical fiction novel: strong female characters, secrets that are passed down through generations, an unknown inheritance, Lies and deceit and a utterly absorbing backdrop into another world.

There is a romance that slowly blooms into passion and there is also the darker side of the interrogations that are brutal to read. I literally could not put this book down, Kate Mosse has such a skilful way of drawing you in, drip feeding you with the story in such a way that you live, breath and think nothing but the characters lives that are written on the page.

โœจOut now

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Buy from

๐Ÿ›’ Waterstones

๐Ÿ›’ Amazon


About the author

Kate Mosse is the author of eight novels & short story collections, including the No 1 bestselling The Burning Chambers Series โ€“ The Burning Chambers and The City of Tears โ€“ as well as the multimillion selling Languedoc Trilogy - Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel - and No 1 bestselling Gothic fiction including The Winter Ghosts and The Taxidermist's Daughter, which she has adapted for the stage. Her books have been translated into 38 languages and published in more than 40 countries. She has also written four works of non-fiction โ€“ including An Extra Pair of Hands (Wellcome Collection, 2021) - four plays, contributed essays and introductions to classic novels and collections.

A champion of women's creativity, Kate is the Founder Director of the Women's Prize for Fiction - the largest annual celebration of women's writing in the world - and sits on the Executive Committee of Women of the World. She is the Founder of the global campaign - #WomanInHistory โ€“ launched in January 2021 to honour, celebrate and promote womenโ€™s achievements throughout history and from every corner of the world. She was awarded an OBE in 2013 for services to literature and women and was named Woman of the Year for her service to the arts in the Everywoman Awards. She is a regular guest on book & arts shows on radio and television. She also writes and presents documentaries.

Kate hosts the pre performance interview series at Chichester Festival Theatre in Sussex, chairs Platform Events for the National Theatre in London, as well as interviewing writers, directors, campaigners and actors at literary and theatre festivals in the UK and beyond. Kate was awarded a Fellowship at the Writer's House in Amsterdam in 2019. She is also Professor of Creative Writing & Contemporary Fiction at the University of Chichester.

Kate lives full-time in Chichester, though visits Carcassonne whenever possible. She is currently working on a documentary inspired by #WomanInHistory and working on the third novel in 'The Burning Chambers' series, which will be set in Amsterdam, Tenerife and South Africa ready for publication in 2022.

In 2019, Kate was honoured to be presented with a medal for services to culture by the City of Carcassonne. It is because of buying a tiny house in the shadow of the medieval city walls of Carcassonne in 1989 - and becoming inspired by the landscape, the beauty and the history of the region - that Kate became the writer she is.

Books by Kate

The City of Tears - book two -


The Winter Ghosts

I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on this review, if you have read this book why not drop me a line telling me your thoughts?


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