"Never judge a book by its cover", because sometimes the books is even better than the beautiful cover suggests. Such was the case with "The Pelican Bride"; a stunning cover encapsulated an extraordinary story.
Genevieve Gaillain and Tristan Lanier meet almost immediately in the French territory of Louisiana County when she arrives from France on a ship, whose female cargo is destined to marry French soldiers and settlers in the brink-of-civilization Fort Louis. Geneviere and her sister Aimee, although both quite beautiful, harbor ugly secrets; the revelation of which could cost them and anyone associated with them; their very lives.
Tristan Lanier and his brother Marc-Antoine have a strong familial dedication, even though Tristan is no long under the command of the French Captain Bienville. Trouble brews all around them; the British navy skulks their shores, the Spanish bribe warehouse officials out of critical supplies, and relationship with local Indian tribes are fragile and fractured. In addition, religious freedom does not really exist in a French colony smothered in Catholicism.
Following Tristan and Genevieve's hasty, but sincere marriage; Tristan and a peace-making delegation are sent north to smooth out Indian-French relations. However, there are dark forces at work; Tristan's heritage is at stake; long-standing grudges exact revenge, and betrayals run rampant through-out the colony.
This is beyond a fascinating story; it's a brilliant re-enactment of our history within the bounds of fiction and I loved every page!
*** Thanks to Revell Publishing! I won a copy of this book and am more than happy to encourage others to read it.
What a fantastic historical fiction novel! This is my favorite genre to begin with but this book was amazing!
Two young sisters, Genevieve and Aimee Gaillain, take a perilous journey to the Louisiana colony in 1704 as mail order brides. Their transport, the French ship the Pelican seems to be the answer to the problems they are facing in their homeland. Their father, a baker, became a martyr for their religious beliefs that went against the Catholic Church. Genevieve is also fleeing execution as a murderer for shooting a soldier to defend her family.
Scared but hopeful they embark on their journey in hopes of finding a good husband and religious freedom. They quickly find they Louisiana is not as promised. Instead they find themselves thrown into the midst of a disorganized settlement filled with filth and immorality. The men they have to choose from are dishonest and crude, even the officers. They must continue live in fear and secret concerning their religious beliefs. Genevieve has protected a portion of her father's yeast from his bakery that she plans use to make a living as a baker in this new world. Her young sister Aimee is awed by the pomp and importance of the officers, failing to see their glaring lack of sincerity and character. Tristian Lanier, a widower who has nursed a broken heart for many years surprises everyone and asks Genevieve's hand in marriage. Even more surprising he does so before leaving on a 2 month journey to encourage support and peace of local Indian tribes. His chances of coming back alive are slim.
In addition to the disgusting conditions of the settlement, lawlessness rules, especially in the corrupt leadership. Genevieve finds herself stretched thin trying to help the other suffering women, protect herself and Aimee, and living with the uncertainty and fear for their lives.
One thing that made this such a fantastic historical Christian novel is how the author included so very many detailed facts of politics at that time and the raw and difficult living conditions of the people. The story was fast paced and exciting. Do not read when going to bed at night! It certainly made me think about how blessed we are with our religious freedom today!
I received this book free from Revell publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Beth White makes history come alive in vivid detail with beautiful, spoiled French belles; puffed-up, money-hungry "aristocrats" ruling the colony;French traders who question their loyalty to the crown, but detest England; and the native Indians, who are many groups and varied in purposes and friendliness towards the colonists.There is plenty of romance with the women who came across the ocean on the Pelican finding matches in the colony, esp. Genevieve Gaillain ,and her sister, Aimee, plus the Lanier men. King Louis XIV's court doesn't have anything on the suspense and intrigue that occur within and without the fort due to people's aspirations of power and money. Secrets. Genevieve is hiding some big ones. But so are Tristan, Nika, and some of the rulers of the colony.Each of these secrets affect many of the colonists in their own way. Did I mention hair-raising suspense and disaster are part of this volume as well?!What a fabulous historical read!! Fortunately, it's only the first in the Gulf Coast Chronicles. My eyes are peeled!!
This is the first time I've read a novel by Beth White and I'm very impressed!
The Pelican Bride is set in the early 18th Century Mobile region of the Louisiana Territory. This is an era of history of which I know little about. I learned much while reading this fascinating book. I also found the main characters to be strong and quite endearing.
There were many religious differences in the early 1700's. In this story, Genevieve Gaillain and her sister, Aimee, arrive in America on a ship named the Pelican. They journey to the Louisiana Territory in search of husbands, but primarily to flee religious persecution. They expect much more than they find in the New World. Life is difficult, disease is common, and the region is tense with political problems.
Tristan Lanier is the first man Genevieve meets as she leaves the Pelican. He helps her ashore and their paths continue to cross. Both Genevieve and Tristan harbor past secrets. Tristan has lost his faith in God, and Genevieve is true to her faith no matter how much, or how often, that faith is tested. They seem to be at odds, yet feel an undeniable attraction to each other. Many hardships and much intrigue forge their relationship. Tristan and Genevieve continue to grow individually, and as a couple, throughout the book.
As I said, I was unfamiliar with this period of history when I began reading. By the end of the book I had learned so many things about early Gulf Coast history! I was drawn into the story and really enjoyed discovering how the plot unfolded. Beth White is a gifted writer who is able to transport the reader to another time and place in a way which educates and entertains. The Pelican Bride is rich in historic detail, romantically touching, and thought provoking in spiritual matters. I can't wait for the release of the next book in the Gulf Coast Chronicles!
I received this book from the publisher, through The Book Club Network, in exchange for my honest review.
I first wanted to read The Pelican Bride after reading the book blurb and discovering it was about a French Huguenot that fled France to the New World looking for freedom to practice her faith. See, I enjoy learning my family history and I happen to know that I had some Huguenot ancestors that fled France in the very late 1600's. That knowledge made this book even more interesting to me than a typical historical novel would be, and believe me I do love historical novels.
You know, The Pelican Bride did not disappoint in any way. Beth White did an excellent job with a little-known piece of American history. Who ever heard of Pelican Girls? Well, I have now. The author successfully wove the historical details and fiction into a wonderful story.
The characters, both good and bad, are realistic and believable. They elicit the emotions of the reader in such a way that you feel a part of the story instead of just observing through the author's eyes. I love the heroine; she is strong, kind, and follows her beliefs no matter the cost. I also enjoyed watching the hero change and grow throughout the story.
One of the things I liked best about the book is that it isn't just a historical romance but also includes a healthy dose of intrigue. There is mystery, danger, double crosses, murder, kidnapping..... Well, you are just going to have to find out for yourself!
One little thing I'll note is that this book does have a few PG-13ish moments and I would kind of suggest this story for a little older readers, like 15-16 or so.
Excellent story from a good author and I will be excitedly awaiting the next book in the Gulf Coast Chronicles! Don't miss this wonderful story about a little-known piece of American History!
(I received a copy of this book from Revell for my honest review. All opinions are my own.)