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
I happen to enjoy Beth White’s novels and though I usually read her contemporary novels, I may or may not have been influenced by the cover of this book and read it. Here’s what I thought:
What I liked:
The history. My knowledge of American history pre-1776 is a bit fuzzy so I found it fascinating to learn about these Pelican Brides and their arrival to America, as well as the American Indians that had to deal with all of these foreigners I learned a lot and yet the history just flowed naturally throughout the book.
The premise. I kind of like the “mail-order” bride story.
Tristan. He’s a complex man, but one the reader trusts intrinsically, no doubt because he is a survivor. I liked his back story, and the way that he interacted with Genevieve.
Genevieve. She’s a strong heroine, but she’s not a stupid one. I like that she realizes that she has to survive and play by the rules of this town, and yet she doesn’t have to just go with the flow. I think that she’s a great match to Tristan.
Spiritually, the novel deals with the persecution of the French Protestants and how brave they are to read the Bible and trust God when it could very well be a death sentence. It just brought out the seriousness of our faith that we sometimes forget.
What I didn’t like:
It seems to be fairly common to make siblings of the heroine total meanies. I mean, if I was an only child who read books like these, I would be thanking God. Fortunately, I have two awesome sisters who would never treat me the way Genevieve’s sister treated her. It just kind of bothered me that her sister was so consumed with herself.
The romance happened a bit fast mostly because Tristan and Genevieve spent a lot of time a part from each other. I saw that this book was a series, and initially, I thought that meant that we would see Genevieve and Tristan really get to know each other over the space of the series, but I’m fairly certain that this is their book.
Overall, a very good read and written so well that I got lost in the pages.
Romantic Scale: 7.4