Book Review: The Pelican Bride

2 May

721973It 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.


313204_b8f0fbd6de603d031772f89385f2f7f1.jpg_srz_268_398_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzAbout Beth White — I grew up in the South, specifically North Mississippi, which has a rich tradition of fostering writers, storytellers, and musicians. I’m fond of both music and literature, so I amuse myself by teaching chorus and piano in an inner-city public high school by day, while conducting a secret life as a romance writer by night.

Anyway, I find myself, after more than half the years I’ve been alive, still married to my last college boyfriend. He still makes me laugh, he still gives me the warm fuzzies, and he still checks my tires, so I guess I’ll keep him. We somewhat successfully raised two young adults, who are both married and have begun producing amazing grandchildren. My cup runneth over.

Anyone who wants to know more about me should read my books and my blog. I am something of a hermit In Real Life, except in the classroom and on my computer, but I am very much interested in what makes my readers tick. And what ticks them off. And what makes them smile. So please email me here. I promise to answer.

My Impressions:

I have read several contemporary romance novels by Mississippi native Beth White. She always brings a great sense of place to her books, so when I heard she had written an historical novel set in the fledgling Louisiane colony, I knew I had to read it. Filled with rich historical detail, The Pelican Bride is a perfect read for those who love history and romance.

Genevieve Gaillain, along with her sister Aimee and other women from France, is transported upon the Pelican to find a husband among the French soldiers and Canadian craftsmen that have settled into the new Louisiane colony (now Mobile, Alabama). What they encounter definitely does not exceed their expectations. Rough living conditions, even rougher perspective beaus, an unstable political environment and hostile Native peoples combine to create at least a little fear. But their contracts state that they must find husbands, so the courting begins. But Genevieve has secrets that make choosing a husband tricky. Can she trust God to safely lead her in the New France?

Set in 1704, The Pelican Bride was meticulously researched. The peoples and place that was the capital of the French colony in the American South come to life in Beth White’s hands. New-to-me history and an intriguing plot kept me reading. I especially liked the political machinations and the relationship between the French settlers and the Native Americans. There is plenty of political intrigue and detail about the Huguenot persecution to create a well-developed historical setting. The blend of characters, both historic and fictional, was interesting as well. My favorites were Jesuit priest, Father Mathieu and Nika, a native woman integral to the plot. The romance is a bit predictable and perhaps stretches believability. The two main characters, Genevieve and Tristan Lanier. resist their attraction for the first half of the book and then suddenly marry and fall in love. But The Pelican Bride is first and foremost a romance and follows along the prescribed lines for the genre.

All in all I would recommend The Pelican Bride to all who love an historical romance. The little known era detailed in the book makes it a fresh and interesting read.


(Thanks to Revell for my review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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