Monday, October 15, 2018

{Review} St. Bartholomew's Eve - Heirloom Audio Productions

Heirloom Audio Productions has released yet another wonderful audio drama of a G.A. Henty adventure. This time we have been privileged to review St. Bartholomew's Eve, a story that takes place during the Huguenots’ struggles in France. My eleventh grade daughter, Amber, has looked forward to the release of each new audio drama since our first review of one back in seventh grade, and they never disappoint.

Heirloom Audio Productions:

Heirloom Audio Productions has transformed numerous G.A. Henty adventures into their active listening format. These are not simply audio books with a story being read, nor are they quite the same as audio dramas that you may have heard on the radio or as recordings. Instead, active listening audio adventures take quick paced adventures and bring you into the story through sound only. The effects encourage you to create images in your mind, to where you do not even realize there is not a video component. The experience is unlike any other listening format.

We received St. Bartholomew's Eve as a two CD set, however Heirloom Audio Productions also publishes these adventures as MP3s on their website where you can download or listen online. In addition to digital files, Live the Adventure Club provides bonus content for each story in the form of study guides, e-book versions of the G.A. Henty novel, sound tracks, and more. We have been more than pleased in the past with our access to Live the Adventure Club.

G.A. Henty

G.A. Henty was a late 19th century English novelist who mostly wrote historical adventure novels for children. Being well traveled and having spent time in the British army gave Henty some of the perspective needed to write such detailed stories. He also was known to do extensive research prior to writing his historical novels and all use history to teach moral values. That research is the key which has allowed Henty's stories to remain relevant today as vivid, historically accurate (for the most part) tales for all ages.

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of St. Bartholomew's Eve from Heirloom Audio Productions

St. Bartholomew's Eve

The entire 2-CD set is roughly two and one half hours long and can easily be completed in one session, although our schedule meant Amber needed two different days to complete her listening. The summary of the story below is my synopsis based on the notes Amber took while listening. A common theme in Henty's books is perseverance and staying true to one's beliefs. This retelling is no different.

(Based on Amber's notes)
The story of St. Bartholomew's Eve revolves around the French Wars of Religion and is set about 50 years after Martin Luther began the Reformation. The main character is a 16 year old boy from Canterbury who is visiting his French family. There he is learning to fight and ride along side his older cousin, Francois, and hopes to join the Huguenots (the French Protestants) in their fight for freedom of religion.

The two heroes, Philip and Francois, are involved in subterfuge to arm the tenants of Francois' family to defend their lands while the family travels for the Huguenot cause. The heroes arrive at the chateau of Admiral Coligny, where they learn of plans to capture the king of France and negotiate the dismissal of the anti-Huguenot council. This does not go as planned, and the king escapes.

Philip and Francois then join with another cousin of Francois, Count de la Noue, to take down the Catholic opposition in smaller town before meeting up outside of Paris with Admiral Coligny and Prince Conde, who had the original plan to capture the king. During the ensuing battle, our heroes must defend Prince Conde until the Catholic army is pushed back into Paris.

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of St. Bartholomew's Eve from Heirloom Audio Productions
Amber's notes
Philip, Francois, and Count de la Noue next travel south to inform another group of Huguenots of their reasoning for abandoning the attack on Paris. The journey is fraught with danger since there are many Catholic spies in the homes of those who support the Huguenots. The Count and Francois are captured on the way to meet with a potential supporter, while Philip and their remaining men are forced to hide. A young Huguenot boy helps Philip and his group to capture the Catholic leaders of the town and release their Huguenot captives, including the Count and Francois.

Eventually, our group must return to the home of Francois' family to defend it against the Catholic army. After several rounds the enemy retreats. However, our group of fighters then goes on to help in another battle and are injured. Their recovery takes over a year.

The situation in France grows more desperate for the Huguenots with the French Queen Mother and Duke of Guise plotting to eliminate all leaders of the Huguenots. The French king eventually acquiesces to the pressure. The Catholics carry out the massacre of 70,000 Huguenots, including Admiral Coligny. Our heroes manage to save some Huguenots, but in the end Francois also dies.

How we use audio dramas

After many years of enjoying the Henty stories brought to life by Heirloom Audio Productions, our method of use for these adventures has evolved. Once upon a time, Amber and I listened to them together while utilizing the study guides as discussion points. We then progressed to both of us listening, or me popping in and out, and Amber using the study guide as an outline to keep her focused.

Most recently, in high school, I rarely listen in, because Amber prefers to do her work more independently. The audio dramas now function as a unique history lesson and practice session for note taking. Amber has even moved away from taking notes on her iPad and chooses to listen through her computer while taking notes directly with word processing software. 

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of St. Bartholomew's Eve from Heirloom Audio Productions

Amber appreciates the change in lesson style that the audio drama provides, and the opportunity to work on tasks that can be difficult for a student who is not even remotely an auditory learner. She struggles with comprehension when there is only an auditory component, and we are always looking for ways to incorporate practice time of the tools taught in Amber's occupational therapy sessions. A definite plus to the Heirloom Audio active listening stories are their compelling action and feeling of complete submersion into the drama.

Amber was able to complete the entire audio drama in two sessions, each at the end of her regular school day, which made for a refreshing last subject. Amber no longer has a high school history course left to complete for which the Henty dramas can be included, however we were able to put the time toward her general practical arts credits for the practice of her OT goals.

We have thoroughly enjoyed every single audio drama from Heirloom Audio Productions, and are a little sad that this may have been our last one given Amber's grade and time commitments.

Take a look at the other Heirloom Audio Productions adventures we have reviewed:



Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew also reviewed St. Bartholomew's Eve. Please follow the link in the graphic below to read their thoughts.

St. Bartholomew's Eve {Heirloom Audio Reviews}

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