A distant Louisiana colony in 1704 is certainly a new and foreign world to the two French sisters readers are introduced to upon opening The Pelican Bride. With descriptive and historical detail, the author breathes life to the Gulf Shores we meet there with its intriguing and diverse culture of colonists, Native Americans, and brave young women in search of religious and political freedoms. The story produces everything you could wish for in historical fiction – compelling characters, dangerous secrets, threatening enemies, bonds of love, and, of course, fascinating history you’ve probably never heard of.
I enjoyed following our leading lady, Genevieve, from the moment she lands in the swampy waters along the coast in this New World. The hope of adventure and liberty that lies before her grew simultaneously in my heart as I read and watched her expectations quickly meet opposition and surprising consequences. Once she meets Tristan, I was ready to settle in and see if this exciting setting would bring them together or push them apart.
The characters seemed well-developed to me, the plot thickening to an exciting end, and the historical depth and maturity of the story pleasantly surprising – and yet, I had a hard time settling into the story and liking it as much I had hoped to. I struggled over a few portions where a character’s foreign tongue was not explained. Sometimes the historical details distracted me from the overall theme. And while I enjoyed the relationship between the two main characters, I would have preferred to see them interact more within the book than they did. As the book unfolds, so much is happening that I admit I felt occasionally lost in it all.
I still think this book has a lot to offer fans of historical fiction. The second half certainly grabbed my attention and the author brought a lot of pieces together in a satisfying way I had never expected. It is an educational read, with thought-provoking questions for that time period – and for today as well. There is also room left to expand the story with the next installment of the series coming out in 2015. I look forward to seeing where the Gulf Coast Chronicles will take readers from here.
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers at Revell for my copy.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
She’s Come to the New World In Hopes of a Secure Future—But the Past Is Not Done with Her Yet.
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Beth White’s day job is teaching music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. A native Mississippian, her passion is writing historical romance with a southern drawl. Her novels have won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Carol Award, the RT Book Club Reviewers’ Choice Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. Learn more at www.bethwhite.net.