Genevieve and her sister Aimee are in a major mess. They have to leave France, for reasons disclosed later on in the book, and head for the "New World". In this case, they are headed for Massacre Island. They are on the Gulf Coast around the year 1704! Having arrived aboard The Pelican, a ship that transports perspective wives who are white, and suppose to be upstanding, these ladies are here to marry men in unions that the King would approve of. The coast of buggy, swampy, strange Louisiana is now home. Here they are to spend their lives, and the first task is to pick out a husband among the Canadian males who are mostly attached to the military base there, and serving France.
To add to the history part, I grew up in Alabama. I have been to the coast of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama many times. I have lived on a coast as well. The descriptions are all very detailed and accurate to the time frame as far as I am concerned!
Arriving in this new place was nothing at all like they had thought it might be. My first favorite quote from this book is this one:
"Pardon. Are you uncomfortable?" She hung upside down with her hair dragging the water, her thighs tucked under a strange man's chin. "Oh, no, monsieur, I was merely wondering what time tea will be served."
This is not just a fluffy easy reading book! It was a bit hard to get into the first few chapters, but once entangled in this tale, I didn't want to leave it. Ginette, Tristian, Amiee, Marc-Antonie, Father Mathieu, Ysabeau, Nika are several of the main characters who have a lot of impact and have a live story to share or tell. I was thrilled at the deep portrayals of the Native American people's of this area and time. Their lives and characters were handled with care, respect, and some grains of truth.
Ginette for example, she could die for having her faith exposed. She is risking her life just having a Bible hidden in her trunk! All this that I have told you, and yet I haven't scratched the surface of the intrigue, drama, history, faith, betrayals, persecutions, murder(s), love, forgiveness, second chances, and hope all planted into the lives of these characters in this one book. I hope I get to review the next one!
It is 1704 when Genevieve Gaillain and her sister board a French ship headed for the Louisiana colony as mail-order brides. Both have promised to marry one of the rough-and-tumble Canadian men in this New World in order to escape religious persecution in the Old World. Genevieve knows life won't be easy, but at least here she can establish a home and family without fear of beheading. But when she falls in love with Tristan Lanier, an expatriate cartographer whose courageous stand for fair treatment of native peoples has made him decidedly unpopular in the young colony, Genevieve realizes that even in this land of liberty one is not guaranteed peace. And a secret she harbors could mean the undoing of the colony itself.
Gulf Coast native Beth White brings vividly to life the hot, sultry south in this luscious, layered story of the lengths we must go to in order to be true to ourselves, our faith, and our deepest loves.
The Back of the Book:
She's come to the New World to escape a perilous past. But has it followed her to these far shores?
It is 1704 when Frenchwoman Geneviève Gaillain and her sister board the frigate Pélican bound for the distant Louisiana colony. Both have promised to marry one of the rough men toiling in this strange new world in order to escape suffering in the old. Geneviève knows life won't be easy, but at least here she can establish a home and family without fear of persecution for her outlawed religious beliefs.
When she falls in love with Tristan Lanier, an expatriate cartographer-turned-farmer whose checkered past is shrouded in mystery, Geneviève realizes that even in this land of liberty one is not guaranteed peace. Trouble is brewing outside the fort between the French colonists and the native people surrounding them. And an even more sinister enemy may lurk within. Could the secret Geneviève harbors mean the undoing of the colony itself?
Gulf Coast native Beth White brings vividly to life the hot, sultry South in this luscious, layered tale.