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 Genevieve Gaillain and her sister board the frigate Pelican 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. Genevieve knows life won’t be easy, but at lease 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, Genevieve 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 Genevieve harbors mean the undoing of the colony itself?
The Pelican Bride is the first book in Beth White’s Gulf Coast Chronicles series, and is also the first book I have ever read by her. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but the cover is fabulous, so I was hoping that this story would be too. Fortunately, I didn’t have to hope long, because I was soon pulled into this captivating tale set in eighteenth century pre-American territory (that’s my not-very-smart way of describing the place where they lived that is now part of America). Beth did a wonderful job of transporting me all the way to that place and time, and there wasn’t a single scene or circumstance that ever made me doubt any of the facts that she presented throughout the course of this story.
Genevieve Gaillain is one strong heroine, and I especially thought so once I had read all of the details of her story. She sure knows how to take care of herself and her sister! Her fierceness and determination are something to behold, and I just love her for it. The way she picks herself up and finds a way to support herself after Tristan leaves is admirable, though I have to say, I absolutely love the connection between her and Tristan. He is such a wonderful, compassionate, intelligent, caring man, and all of those things—in my mind—make him completely and utterly perfect for Genevieve. On top of that, the way that they interact at the very end of this book; oh my goodness I could barely stand it without melting. The two of them have the potential to be one fabulous pair.
One of my most favorite things about this book is the mysterious air about it. Although you really know the identity of the “bad guy” in the story from the beginning, which pretty much keeps this from being a mystery, the extent of his atrocities are a little bit harder to discern, and it is so much fun watching Genevieve, Tristan, and his brother Marc-Antoine—whom I was extremely fond of by the way—attempt to figure out just who it was causing so much trouble in their settlement. I very much enjoyed the twists, and breath stealing moments, that this element of the story brought to the table.
All in all, I definitely enjoyed this story, and have become a pretty big fan of Beth’s writing. And—did I mention this already?—I have completely and utterly fallen for the covers of her novels in this series. I happen to be a teeny-tiny bit of an artist, so I have a soft spot for beautiful covers, and these are some of the best that I have seen. Anyway, I am happy to announce that I will definitely be reading more of Beth’s works in the future, and can find absolutely no reason why I wouldn’t give The Pelican Bride all five bookshelves, or tell you that it is a highly recommended read.
To see where I’m linking up, check out my Where I Party page.