Exploring history through as many senses as possible is one of my favorite things in our homeschool. We frequently make things to eat from a time period or region of the world. We do various art or architecture projects, go on field trips, watch historic and foreign films, and include interesting books to read aloud. But our absolute favorite way to explore history is with audio dramas – more specifically, Christian audio dramas. We have listened to, and thoroughly enjoyed, every single adventure that Heirloom Audio has put out, including the latest title set in France at the time of the Huguenots, St. Bartholomew’s Eve.
Not familiar with St. Bartholomew’s Eve or Day, we did a little background on this story, based upon the G.A. Henty novel of the same name. We have learned a little of the Huguenots, French Protestant Christians of the Reformation, specifically during the latter half of the 16th century. The bloody and tragic St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre is what our story is leading up to. We begin in England with our young hero, Philip Fletcher. He is heading to France to help his mother’s family, and other Huguenots, as they stand firm for their right to worship God in the manner they desire.
As is common throughout Henty novels, our hero is maturing and coming into his own faith through the course of the story. Despite the grim circumstances of religious war, there are some lighter moments in the audio. The younger boy, Argento, and his sister give more depth and hope to the story.
Though there were many intense scenes, I did not feel it was too intense for our younger children (8 and 10 years old). When Argento is wounded and ultimately loses his leg, our 8-year-old pipes up “at least he is still alive” very matter-of-factly. When we encounter him again sometime later, this same son marvels over his ability to get around – on the rooftop no less – until he slips. And then, when they begin singing “A Mighty Fortress” by Martin Luther, you can feel their hope. In our studies, we learned that this hymn was often referred to as the battle hymn of the Reformation. Very understandable after hearing it here.
I love how relatable the characters are. G.A. Henty had a way of really bringing us into the story, set against historical events, bringing in historical figures, yet telling his own story. Heirloom Audio takes those great stories and brings them to life, just like a movie.
The audio adventure is about 2 1/2 hours over two discs (or MP3 download). We listened in the van over the course of two different days of errands. The theme of religious freedom lent itself to many discussions and conversations both during our history studies and with Daddy at the dinner table. This is one of my favorite things about using audio dramas for history – that everyone is included.
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