Genevieve Gaillain and her sister are headed to the New World on the journey of their lives. To escape religious persecution in France, the sisters find themselves on board the Pelican to become wives to the French Canadian men who are settling in the colony of Louisiana.
Tristan Lanier just wants to be able to live peacefully and work his land. Even though he is French Canadian, he is currently at odds with the French leaders in the Louisiana area due to his stance on the native people and his opinions on where the French people should be settling.
When Genevieve and the other Pelican Brides arrive on the shores of Louisiana, they are shocked at what they discover. The men in the colony are nothing like what was advertised, and the unrest in the area is a real concern. But when Genevieve and Tristan meet, there is an instant connection.
As the days go by, the political struggles in the area intensify, and everyone is affected. After leaving her native France in the midst of similar circumstances, Genevieve wonders if there is anywhere that she might be able to find the peace and love she longs for.
Set in 1704, The Pelican Bride is the first book in the Gulf Coast Chronicles series by Beth White.
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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.
Admittedly, this time period and setting is not one that I read often. I was intrigued, though, by the story of women coming to the New World as brides and not necessarily getting what they bargained for. As far as that plotline goes, this book was really interesting. It was neat to see early America through the eyes of the newcomers and to experience what life was like in the colonies at that time, especially since there were so many people vying for the land.
I have to say, however, that this novel was very heavy on the historical side of things. I like historical fiction, of course – it is my favorite genre to read. But this one had so many historical facts and details that the fiction part of it often got lost. The author actually admits in her note at the end of the book that this might be the case: “I’m pretty much the ultimate history geek, so I found myself loading the story with way too much information for the average fiction reader (I suspect I’ll have critics on both ends of the spectrum). At my editor’s suggestion, I decided to put some of that information here, to keep from bogging down the action in the novel.” (White, Kindle location 4241)
Unfortunately, that is exactly what I thought happened in this novel. Actually, it wasn’t always the strict history lesson that got in the way of the action of the story but the descriptions of the setting and time period. There were so many times when something exciting would be happening, and right in the middle of it there would be a description of how bread was being made or how a character’s office looked. I am really torn about this style of writing, though. I really liked getting the complete picture of what life was like for people during this time. It was very interesting and made the novel have so much more depth, but sometimes it did slow the action down. I also thought that this novel was too gritty overall, but that’s just a personal preference.
As I began reading this book, I have to say that I was swept up in the story right away. The plotlines are complex and overlap with each other very well. Once the Pelican brides arrived in the settlement, things started getting even more intriguing. I was kept from completely enjoying the main plots of the story, however, because of the sheer number of characters in this book. It doesn’t help that the names of the characters are mostly French. I realize that to remain authentic, this needed to be the case. I just wish I had started keeping a list of who was who at the beginning of the book!
The part of the story that was most interesting to me was the Protestant/Catholic storyline. It was interesting to learn how there was so much persecution of those who were part of the Reformation and that this persecution extended even to the New World. I wish there had been a bit more depth to the matter of faith in the other characters’ lives, not just Genevieve’s. I also liked the story between Genevieve and Tristan. It was a quick romance, but, considering their circumstances, it was believable.
This is the first book in the Gulf Coast Chronicles by this author, and I believe the next one will be out sometime next year.
I will give The Pelican Bride ... 3 BookWorms.
The Pelican Bride
by Beth White
Gulf Coast Chronicles #1
Publication date: April 15, 2014
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."