Pelican Bride, The: A Novel

( 21 )

Overview

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 Geneviève Gaillain and her sister board the frigate Pélican 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. Geneviève knows life won't be easy, but at least here she ...
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The Pelican Bride (Gulf Coast Chronicles Book #1): A Novel

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Overview

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 Geneviève Gaillain and her sister board the frigate Pélican 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. Geneviève knows life won't be easy, but at least 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, Geneviève 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 Geneviève harbors mean the undoing of the colony itself?

Gulf Coast native Beth White brings vividly to life the hot, sultry South in this luscious, layered tale.

"Fresh as a gulf breeze, The Pelican Bride is the perfect pairing of history and romance. Finely tuned characters and a setting second to none make this a remarkable, memorable story. Beth White's foray into colonial Louisiana is historical romance of the highest quality."--Laura Frantz, author of Love's Reckoning and Love's Awakening

"Not your usual setting, not your usual historical romance--The Pelican Bride breaks new ground in the historical genre. Choosing to write a story set in the French colony that became Mobile, Alabama, draws the reader into a new and exciting period. A winning beginning to a new historical series."--Lyn Cote, author of The Wilderness Brides series

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
02/03/2014
White (Crescent City Courtship) takes liberties with historical fact in this inspirational and sweet historical romance. Readers are introduced to the lives and times of the “Pelican Girls,” brides brought to the New World’s Gulf Coast in 1704 to help begin the colonization process. While little is known about the actual Pelican Girls, aside from what is contained in church records, the fictionalized ladies are brought to life in a sanitized, genteel fashion. Genevieve Gaillain, a young Frenchwoman, arrives in Louisiana with her sister, both as mail-order brides, in hopes of building new lives better than those they’re escaping in Old World France, where they suffered from religious persecution. Their journey intertwines with that of the Native Americans and other colonists in a convoluted web of lies, deceit, and sin, challenging Genevieve to stay true to her faith, herself, and her new husband. New France comes alive thanks to intricate detail, though the effect is tempered by the sheer volume of secondary characters and Byzantine plot. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780800721978
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/15/2014
  • Series: Gulf Coast Chronicles , #1
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 206,985
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Beth White's day job is teaching music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. A native Mississippian, she is a pastor's wife, mother of two, and grandmother of one--so far. Her hobbies include playing flute and pennywhistle and painting, but her real 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. Visit www.bethwhite.net for more information.
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Read an Excerpt

THE Pelican Bride

A NOVEL


By BETH WHITE

Revell

Copyright © 2014 Beth White
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2197-8


CHAPTER 1

Massacre Island Mobile Bay, 1704


The fifty-six-gun frigate Pélican lunged as Geneviève Gaillain dropped six feet over its side before the canvas sling jerked her to a stop. Clutching the sodden rope above her head, she looked up at the dark-skinned mariners straining to keep her from plummeting into what they charmingly called "the drink." The sling swung with the motion of the ship, setting the sky tilting overhead in rhythm with the ocean's slap-slosh against the hull.

Queasy, she searched among the women still aboard until she found her sister leaning against the rail, cheeks as pale as the belly of a sea bass. If Geneviève yielded to her own terror, Aimée would refuse to get into the sling when her turn came.

And if her sister didn't get o$ that pestilential ship soon, she was going to die.

Geneviève looked over her shoulder at the scrawny, wind-twisted pines staggering along the shore like teeth in a broken comb. She'd begun to wonder if she would ever see this Louisiane that she was to call home—the New World, God help her.

She shut her eyes as the jerky, swaying descent resumed.

"Hang on, miss!" shouted the mate in the longboat below. "Almost down."

The seamen above chose that moment to release the rope, dumping her unceremoniously into a pool of seawater in the bottom of the longboat. Laughter erupted from the ship, but she caught her breath, ignored the merriment at her expense, and began the awkward business of untangling herself from the ropes.

The mate in the longboat reached down to help, grinning. "Welcome to Massacre Island."

She resisted the urge to jerk from his grasp. "Thank you," she muttered, recovering her dignity by scooting onto one of three narrow planks crossing the center of the boat. As the sling was hauled up, she looked up and cupped her hands around her mouth. "Aimée! Come on."

Her sister recoiled from the sailor waiting to help her into the sling. "I can't."

"Don't be ridiculous." Geneviève forced sympathy from her voice. "You can and you will!"

The sailors grabbed Aimée, stu$ed her into the sling heedless of petticoats and shrieks, and dropped her over the side. Geneviève supposed they had little choice, but it was maddening to see her little sister treated like just another item of goods for sale. Although, essentially, she was.

After swinging through the air like a sack of sugar on a string, Aimée fell into the boat with a solid thump and a muffled squeal. "My skirt's wet!"

The mate chuckled as he extricated her from the sling. "You'll get a lot wetter than this before the day's out, m'selle."

Aimée's blue eyes widened as she struggled to keep her balance in the reeling longboat. "What do you mean?"

"Sit down before you pitch us all into the bay." The sailor shielded his eyes against the sun and gestured for the sling to go up for another passenger.

"Geneviève, what does he—"

"Aimée, sit down." Geneviève grabbed her sister's clammy hand. "You're going to faint."

Aimée crumpled onto the seat. "I wish we'd never come," she whispered, leaning against Geneviève. "I want to go home."

Geneviève put her arms around her sister's quaking body. There was no home to go back to. Tolerance in France for Huguenots had come to a flaming end. Here in Louisiane there was at least the promise of marriage, a chance of gaining independence, a home and children. The pouch of coins in her pocket pressed against her thigh, reassuring her. So many unknowns about this venture. She had promised to marry one of the Canadians who had already come here to explore and settle, and Aimée, as young as she was, had promised as well.

Yielding herself was inevitable, part of the bargain she had struck, as was hiding her faith. She and Aimée would have to make the best of it.

Another girl landed in the rocking boat, displacing her anxious thoughts, then one by one, with varying degrees of noise and struggle, four more. Finally the mate in charge roared, "No more room! We'll get the rest on the next trip."

The sailors hauled up the empty canvas seat, tossed it onto a pile of rigging, and noisily saluted the departure of the longboat.

Thank God she and Aimée had been chosen to depart with the first group. They would have the choice of accommodations for the night—though who knew what that would be like. Massacre Island. She shivered. What a name for their landing place. But at least they would not have to stay here long. Tomorrow they were to travel up the river to their final destination, Fort Louis.

By the time they were halfway to shore, she and Aimée were both soaking wet from salt spray. Still, incredibly, her sister's cheek against her shoulder burned with fever.

Geneviève anxiously brushed her hand across her sister's damp, curly blonde head. Poor baby, she was lucky to be alive. One of the sailors had been buried at sea only yesterday. Geneviève herself still trembled from the fever they'd all picked up in Havana, but at least she was upright.

As the longboat drew closer to the beach, she lifted her hand to block the stark glare of sand as white as spun sugar. She began to make out human figures—male figures—gathered to watch their arrival. Her stomach tightened. Was her future husband among them? Some unknown Canadian with pots of money as they had been promised?

With every stroke of the oars she came closer to meeting him. Would he be like her father, a good man who had failed to protect his daughters? Or would he be like the rude and vicious dragoons who had been quartered in their home? Could she be so lucky, so blessed, as to find a man as kind and resourceful as Father Mathieu? As brave and principled as the great Réforme warrior Jean Cavalier?

Still several yards out from the beach, the boat grounded against sand with a bump. Aimée whimpered and stirred in her arms. Geneviève looked up and found herself encircled by grinning, bearded men standing hip-deep in the water. Her overpowered gaze took in a variety of faded, ragged clothing, sunburnt faces, and twinkling eyes.

The young man closest to her, the only one in uniform—the blue, white, and gold of the French marine—removed his tricorn and bowed, all but baptizing himself in the chopping surf. He rose, plopping his misshapen headgear back into place, and scanned the passengers of the boat as if surveying goods in a market. "Welcome, mademoiselles. We've come to carry you ashore."

Geneviève stared at the boy. He couldn't be more than nineteen or twenty years of age, his cleft chin emphasized by a dark beard still thin and fine. Indeed he was broad of shoulder but built on lanky lines.

They were all slender, she realized, looking around at the other men. Gaunt in fact. Another sliver of apprehension needled her midsection. "I can walk, monsieur. But I would be grateful if you would help my sister. She isn't well."

The young man transferred his gaze to Aimée, who lolled against Geneviève like a rag doll. "We'd hoped the fever in Havana would be gone by now." He slid his arms gently under Aimée's knees and around her back, lifted her with surprising ease, and turned to slosh toward the beach.

Ignoring the rough voices and equally rough, reaching hands of the men surrounding the boat, Geneviève hauled herself over the side.

And found herself underwater. She thrashed, tried to find footing as she sank under the weight of her skirts. Just when she thought her lungs would burst, a pair of steely hands clamped her around the waist from behind and hauled her into sweet, blessed air. She coughed and vomited.

"Let go!" Choking, she shoved at the sinewy arms around her middle. "You're squeezing the life out of me!"

"Stop kicking," the voice rumbled against her back, "or I'll let you swim."

"I can't swim!"

"Then relax and enjoy the ride." He hoisted her over his shoulder and turned toward the beach.

Geneviève shoved a hank of sopping hair out of her eyes. She had lost her cap in the water, and her braid had come loose. All she could see was a rough shirt of a faded, pink-tinged brown, plastered against hard lateral muscles flexing as her rescuer half waded, half swam with her. He gripped the back of her thigh with one large hand to hold her in place and extended the other for balance.

Lifting her head, she peered at the Pélican floating in the distance, sails flapping against the steely sky in a brisk northwest breeze. No more worm-ridden hardtack for breakfast. No more briny bathing and drinking water. No more malodorous cabin shared with three other fractious women.

She realized she had much to be thankful for.

A noise must have escaped her. The man halted. "Pardon. Are you uncomfortable?"

She hung upside down with her hair dragging in the water, her thighs tucked under a strange man's chin. "Oh, no, monsieur, I was merely wondering what time tea will be served."

A rusty chuckle erupted against her knees. "Forgive us, mademoiselle. No one thought to warn you about the sinkholes." He continued slogging his way toward shore.

Sinkholes. What other unexpected dangers awaited her in this alien land? As the water got shallower and clearer, she could see sea creatures swimming amongst bits of brown, foamy algae. The gentle roll of the surf was wholly unlike Rochefort's rocky, choppy seashore, as were the long-legged, wide-winged white birds swooping in the distance. They were big enough to carry o$ a small child.

The bay was big, the wildlife was big, the men were big. She and Aimée would be swallowed whole.

The man stopped. "You can walk from here," he said, shifting her into the cradle of his arms. He held her a moment, looking down into her face.

Boldly she returned his stare. His bony, angular face was outlined by a neatly trimmed dark beard and mustache, with black eyebrows slashing above a pair of fierce brown eyes uncannily like those of the boy who had carried Aimée ashore. Dark hair curled to his shoulders and blew back from a broad, intelligent brow.

"You should know," he said, "that I only came to pick up supplies. I'm not here for a wife."


* * *

It had been a long time since Tristan had held a woman in his arms. This one was thin, bedraggled, and exceedingly wet. But she held her arms clasped across a nicely shaped bosom and stared up at him with black-fringed eyes the color of the ocean sloshing around his legs.

Stiff as a wet cat, she fairly hissed. "As if I would want to marry a presumptuous oaf who hoists me over his shoulder like a barrel of flour and then insults me without bothering to introduce himself."

"I am Tristan Lanier," he said with as much dignity as he could muster. "I'm s—"

"Put me down. I'll take my chances with the sink holes."

And then he saw the tears. Pity curbed his initial impulse to dump her onto her curvy derriere in the sand. He released her legs but kept a steady arm across her back. "The sand is firm here. You'll be fine."

"Thank you." She would have stepped away, but her legs buckled. "Oh!" she gasped as he caught her, pulling her hard against him. "The ground is heaving up and down!"

"It will do that for quite some time. Give yourself a minute before you try to—"

But she had already pushed away, staggering onto dry sand, where she stood peering up and down the beach. She had to squint against the sun, which had abruptly come out from behind the clouds.

Tristan followed her gaze. "What's the matter?"

"I don't see my sister."

Each of the men who had flocked to the aid of the women in the longboat had collected a prize and headed for shade. The longboat was already on its way back to the ship for another load. Tristan and this woman were alone on the beach.

"Come," he said, softening his voice. "I'll take you to the warehouse. That's where she'll be."

She nodded and picked up her soggy skirts to follow him. As they rounded one of the large dunes lumped along the beach, he glanced at her. She looked like a woman who had just awakened from sleep to find herself face-to-face with her nightmare. The fine sea-green eyes darted right and left at the seagulls wheeling in search of food, and she visibly struggled to maintain her balance. Her small leather boots, cracked and thin, must be little protection against the hot sand.

Halfway up the beach, a tall stand of sea grass blocked the way. Tristan went ahead to hold it back so that she could pass without getting slapped in the face. On the other side of it, she stopped, putting a hand briefly on his forearm.

"Monsieur Lanier, I must beg your forgiveness. I have been unkind in the face of your assistance." She bit her lip, looking away. "My—my distress is no excuse for lack of gratitude."

"Apology accepted, mademoiselle."

A faint smile curved her lips and found her eyes, turning her from a pinched-face harridan into a starkly lovely young woman. Her hair was drying in dark waves that gleamed in the strong sun with umber and bronze lights, and there was a charming sprinkle of freckles across her straight nose. She couldn't be more than seventeen or eighteen years old.

She grabbed the blowing tresses with a self-conscious yank and twisted them into an impromptu knot at the back of her head. "In the absence of correct social protocols, m'sieur, I must introduce myself. I am Mademoiselle Geneviève Gaillain, late of Rochefort." She dipped a curtsey whose grace was marred only in the slightest by an unsteady step backward into the sea grass.

Tristan grabbed her wrist before she could go rolling down the hill. "It is my very great honor to make your acquaintance, ma'm'selle."

She peeked up at him as if gauging his sincerity, but allowed him to help her up and over the dunes. She was quiet as they trudged the remaining distance between the beach and the warehouse at the top of the rise. He could not fathom what had brought such a pretty, engaging young woman to the wilds of Louisiane to find a husband. Were the men in Rochefort blind, deaf, and dumb?

This largest of the structures erected during the French occupation of Massacre Island stood between two open-air sheds and contained, at any given time, varying quantities of consumable products such as flour, sugar, barley, molasses, wine, lard, and meat. Also stuffed under its twelve-foot-high roof one could find piles of wooden shingles, miscellaneous cooking pots, axes, guns, and butcher knives; available as gifts for the Indians were red stockings—the preferred color—as well as handbells and glass beads.

But as Tristan shoved open the warehouse's warped front door, his supply list fled his mind.

Holding court on a rough three-legged stool just inside the door, hands clasped demurely in her lap, was the most beautiful young woman he'd ever seen. She blinked up at Tristan's brother Marc-Antoine with eyes the color of gentian violets, her flaxen curls spilling onto her dainty shoulders from under a white ruffled cap. Her oval face was thin from illness, but the ivory skin gleamed with the purity of a cameo.

Then he caught Marc-Antoine's dazed eye. His brother looked like he'd run straight into a wall.

Geneviève rushed past him. "Aimée!"

The two women embraced for a scant second before the beauty squealed. "Ooh, Ginette! You're making me wet again!"

Geneviève pulled away, searching the younger girl's face. "Are you all right?"

Aimée nodded. "I've been well cared for, Sister." She pursed her sweet lips and flicked a glance at the male audience observing the exchange with slack-jawed interest.

"Indeed?" Geneviève tucked her arm around Aimée's shoulder and faced the crowd like St. Jeanne d'Arc confronting the English at Orleans.

Clearly Geneviève Gaillain was capable of taking care of her little sister, which put his responsibility for them at an end. And at the moment he had more pressing concerns to discuss with his brother.

Tristan slapped Marc-Antoine's shoulder. "Come, you promised to help me transport supplies to my boat."

Marc-Antoine blinked. "Ah. Yes." He bowed to the two young women, a jerky, little-used courtesy. "Mademoiselles."

Tristan grabbed his reluctant brother by the sleeve and towed him toward the open doorway of the warehouse. "You'll have all the time in the world to fix your interest, once the ladies settle in at the fort."

Marc-Antoine looked over his shoulder. "But what if some other fellow takes up with her before I go off-duty again?"


(Continues...)

Excerpted from THE Pelican Bride by BETH WHITE. Copyright © 2014 Beth White. Excerpted by permission of Revell.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 21 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 9, 2014

    The Pelican Bride by Beth White was a refreshing change in histo

    The Pelican Bride by Beth White was a refreshing change in historical fiction. Her research is accurate, the setting is what is now Mobile Bay in Alabama. The fort area is called Louisiane. The Pelican is a ship that brought French women to the French territory to wed the men there. The King wanted his men to stay, settle the area and new they needed families. The fort is close to hostile Indians (working for the British) and the British. Most of the women on the Pelican are referred to as Pelican Brides. The majority of them are from convents and Genevieve is saved from a death sentence by Father Mathieu. He helps Genevieve and her sister to get on board and leave France. One there its nothing like promised.

    Hardships, hostile Indians, never knowing when the British might attack, food shortages, uncertain weather and other dangers. Not to mention the temperaments of so many women trying to live in the same area and get along. Genevieve meets Tristan and not in the best light. They soon form a friendship just before Tristan is to go on an expedition with his brother (French soldier) to map out and explore the land. Also to make friends with some of the Indians in case of war.

    I wasn't expecting to like this book but I was proved very WRONG. I had a hard time putting the book down to do things for my family. Not many fiction books (romance especially) are set in this time. Being from Alabama I can attest to the accuracy of the historical details. We studied it in school. Some of the characters are based on real people.

    I won this book through The Book Club Network and simply said, "I loved this book" and its a "keeper". Looking forward to reading more books by this bright new author. All opinions are my own and no one asked me to leave this review.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 10, 2014

    Pelican Bride is a tremendous book. It is a historical romance  

    Pelican Bride is a tremendous book. It is a historical romance  set in the early 1700's, when women crossed over from France to become brides of men at Fort Louis in the south. It is an enjoyable book with alot of history immersed throughout the book. It is a hard book to put down. There is alot of romance, suspense, secrets being kept, and adjustments to the new environment needing to be made. I can't wait to read the next book in the series!I recieved this book from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

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  • Posted June 18, 2014

    This book holds so much in it. There is mystery, romance, intrig

    This book holds so much in it. There is mystery, romance, intrigue, and history. Beth White creates vivid characters with rich opportunities to move beyond their comfort zones. Some I cherished and others disdained. What adds to the mystique of the book is there are many threads that weave throughout and come together in the end which is very satisfying. Suffering and joy flow next to each other and keep you wondering how people in the past could live such difficult journeys in search of freedom of expression and religion. One special romance shines all throughout and lifts hope into the often dark occurrences. I enjoyed The Pelican Bride and highly recommend it.

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  • Posted May 8, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Beth White in her new book, ¿The Pelican Bride¿ Book One in the

    Beth White in her new book, “The Pelican Bride” Book One in the Gulf Coast Chronicles  series published by Revell introduces us to Geneviève Gaillain.




    From the Back Cover:   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 Geneviève Gaillain and her sister board the frigate Pélican 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. Geneviève knows life won’t be easy, but at least 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, Geneviève 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 Geneviève harbors mean the undoing of the colony itself?




    Gulf Coast native Beth White brings vividly to life the hot, sultry South in this luscious, layered tale.




    I cannot imagine not only giving up my country for my religious beliefs but to come to The Louisiana Territory as a mail order bride to marry a complete stranger?  King Louis wanted to rid France of the Huguenots and  Geneviève barely escapes with her life and her sister.  Where they wind up is a far cry from the land they left behind them.  Ms. White has written a wonderful story full of interesting characters that we come to know and love as we read through the book. Intrigue, mystery, danger, double crosses, murder and kidnapping are all ingredients in this page turning adventure. Ms. White does a great job of making us feel that we are there and living the events rather than just reading about them.  I am so glad that I found Ms. White and am really looking forward to the next book in this exciting series.




    Disclosure of Material Connection: 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. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 7, 2014

    As a history teacher and aficionado of American History, in part

    As a history teacher and aficionado of American History, in particular, I looked forward to reading The Pelican Bride. It covered a location and time period about which I had never read in Christian Historical Fiction. I was NOT disappointed!!!
    By reading the author’s notes, we learned that this book was based on a true voyage of The Pelican to bring a group of mostly convent raised young ladies to the French Louisiana colony as brides for the king’s soldiers and settlers. They lived on the edge of civilization in very close proximity to several Native American villages.
    This story concerns Genevieve Gaillan, an outlawed French Protestant, who was escaping a murder charge and her naïve sister Amee. They look to the colony as an escape from their problems in France. Genevieve quickly finds love with Tristan Lanier, an outcast of the colony. Both of them become embroiled in charges of treason, a hunt for the real traitor, an unexpected inheritance, a selfish little sister who betrays confidences, a hurricane, and troubles with the Native People.
    Many of the characters were based on actual historic figures from the time period. I found the research to be very accurate and interesting. I think any fan of historical fiction who enjoys some romance and adventure thrown in, would really enjoy this as is a vast departure from events usually covered in the majority of historical fiction titles.
    I received this book from The Book Club Network in exchange for my opinion.

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  • Posted May 6, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This was a great book, once the action started happening. The st

    This was a great book, once the action started happening. The story line was familiar; it is very similar to the historical mail order bride stories. Each girl has a different story, and I'm glad the author did not try to write about all of their stories in one book! The historical time period is one that is quite new to me. I haven't read many, if any, books from the 1700s during the very beginning of American settlement. The author provided great historical detail, without going overboard. Because it was the first book in the series, I believe it took a lot longer to get into because the author had to set the background.

    The author chose to jump between several different points of view: Genevieve Gaillain, Aimee Gaillain, Tristan Lanier, Nika, and Julian Dufresne. Because of this, I feel like I didn't get a good sense of the story until over half way through. You have to really pay attention to what you're reading to follow along well. However, the main characters of Genevieve and Tristan were very well written.

    Overall, this is a story about love, faith, and bravery in a strange new world. I recommend it to any history buff who also loves fiction, as the author did a great job of blending the facts with the story. Also, I recommend reading the note to the reader at the end. The author provides a great amount of detail as to where her idea for the story came from, plus a whole lot more historical information.

    **Thank you Revell Reads, for providing this book for free in exchange for my honest review as part of your blogging program.**

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  • Posted May 5, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I read a lot of historical fiction, and I have not yet read a st

    I read a lot of historical fiction, and I have not yet read a story in the 1600s set in Louisiana and that location in general attracted me as well as broadening my experience through the ages. I’m not familiar with Beth White, and I believed that this is her debut book in the historical markets that I roam around in filling my imagination with stories; however, I have since discovered that she does in fact have some Love Inspired Historicals as well as many contemporary novels published as Elizabeth White. After this novel, I definitely will be looking for the rest of the Gulf Coast Chronicles series as well as other stories to come from Beth White in the future. (According to Goodreads, there is more than one author by this name, so be aware of which one you’re looking for.)




    The first thing, this book, The Pelican Bride has going for it is cover beauty. The model chosen for the bride image has breathtaking eyes and the dress is so detailed with accessories that imagining it staying crisp and clean in the watery-muddy setting of the Louisiane is fascinating on it’s own. While not a fast paced story, this is an intriguing and entertaining story that can make a reader really think about their opinions on the matters that our dear Genevieve Gallian faces as well as our hero Tristan Lanier. Like most books these days I have an opinion of how I want to have things end up for our characters, but so many things in this plot kept me interested and in full desire to turn the pages on-going. For a bit I was curious about the Alabaman Indian wife Niki and her tough situation wondering how she would fit in to the rest of the characters’ world… yet I kept trekking in the novel and enjoyed it as I did so. This is a lovely story on the cover and the page.




    I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no other compensation for this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions. Your experience may vary. Please read my full disclosure policy for more details. 

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  • Posted May 4, 2014

    What a fantastic historical fiction novel!   This is my favorite

    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.

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  • Posted May 3, 2014

    History, romance, & intrigue at their best! I first wanted

    History, romance, & intrigue at their best!

    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.)

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  • Posted May 1, 2014

    Thursday, May 1, 2014 The Pelican Bride by Beth White, © 2014 Gu

    Thursday, May 1, 2014
    The Pelican Bride by Beth White, © 2014
    Gulf Coast Chronicles ~ Book One

    Dauphin, or what was then called Massacre Island, Mobile Bay, 1704 ~ Alabama's Gulf Coast
    The 56-gun frigate Pélican arrived near Massacre Island as far as it could come in, delivering brides for the colony being established nearby Fort Louis. Built in a shallow instead of upper hillside, the fort became treacherous when flooding overcame the banks of Mobile Bay. Escaping the wiles of the past, arriving with hopes for Louisiane in the New World, for whatever reason, brought a newness to Geneviève Gaillain and her younger sister, Aimée. How could it be that their Papa was now dead and they were rescued from religious imprisonment? Signed on to wed upon arrival was much appreciated over the identity they left behind, or so they think!

    Geneviève intends to exit the longboat bringing them to shore as soon as it grounds to sand––unaware of its shifting, and her inability to swim. She is rescued from a sinkhole by Tristan Lanier, who lets her know right off that he is there to pick up supplies, not acquire a wife.

    Called Ginette, by sister, Aimée, both are eager to arrive at the settlement and leave Rochefort far behind as a prisoner in France. Being the daughters of a French baker, the intent is to begin a business supplying income to care for themselves, rather than being tied to the first offer of marriage. As they arrive, they find the offer is not what it seems. No prosperous husband and land nor the promised home of their own, even if they should secure both through matrimony. Promises made by those without the power to fulfill them. The colony aspirations are far in the future with the New World luxury opportunities afforded! They will be supplied as their new husbands are able. In the meantime, they settle in with another family. Several passengers have contracted yellow fever and do not complete their journey, while few others survive the first months on land. With housing expectations narrowed, they find themselves in close quarters.

    New France, with bugs, swampy conditions and snakes ~ and no honorable invitations to wed, Aimée sets her sights on the commanders, however misusing their authority. She leaves the baking to Geneviève, and takes off on her own. Where were the brave and resourceful young Canadians of whom she had come to choose to wed? All Aimée wanted was a little house with a garden....

    The Pelican Bride reveals the struggles and uncertainties of a New World settlement amid the environment and outside the fort between the French colonists and the native people, who themselves are competing for lands and game. Struggling to keep the British from invading, the times are perilous. Within a predominately Catholic domain, it is necessary for Geneviève to keep her reformed beliefs at bay. With a British spy among them, all is not as it seems on the surface. Even innocently, or with jealous intent, Aimée betrays her.

    My favorite character is Nika. She teaches Geneviève to cook and dispatches messages as a runner. She protects Tristan's younger brother, Marc-Antoine, when he is ambushed and left for dead. She shows strength of character within, as well as without, and the story is enriched because of her. Strong in background detail of the period, I enjoyed reading this historical fiction and the wordings of the times.

    ***Thank you to Revell Reads Fiction for inviting me to be part of the blog tour for Beth White's The Pelican Bride. This is the first novel I have read by this author. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

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  • Posted April 30, 2014

    Okay Book. As my title says, this book was "okay." I

    Okay Book.
    As my title says, this book was "okay." I was very excited to read it, but unfortunately, it did not meet my expectations.
    I had a hard time getting into it and found the first third or so of it relatively boring. There are several different perspectives and the story bounces around a good deal in the beginning, making it difficult to keep up. Just as I would get a good grasp of one, it would shift to another. Frankly, I found it rather confusing and very annoying.
    The characters seemed flat and I couldn't really connect with any of them, making this a difficult read for me. I also despised 2 of them and sincerely hoped something awful would happen to them (unfortunately, nothing did.) Thankfully, the story picked up a bit about halfway through and I was able to finish it quickly.
    Genevieve and Tristan are the 2 main characters, as the description states, though I kind of doubted that, with so many other things going on as well. They seemed pretty shallow and colorless. We know something happened to Genevieve and that she is hiding a secret, but we don't know it's about until pretty far into the book. I didn't find her to be a very likeable character and there was little about her with which I could relate. Most of the book is from her point of view, which was okay, except that it was mostly descriptions and details about what was going on. Interspersed were her concerns about Tristan and her sister, but that was about it for anything personal.
    We don't know much about Tristan or his feelings, either. His viewpoint often comes up, but as with Genevieve, it is mostly descriptions. I felt I didn't really know either of them by the end of the book and definitely didn't care much about them.
    There isn't much in the way of spiritual themes or development, even though this is a Christian book. In fact, if I was asked to name a theme, I wouldn't be able to. The characters speak precious little about faith, despite the fact that one of them claims to have "returned to the faith" by the end.
    I also had an issue with Genevieve and Tristan's relationship. They spend very little time together. The bulk of the book they are apart, yet they claim to love each other by the end! How? I personally do not know, as they really don't talk much or truly get to know one another.
    The reason I'm giving this book 3 stars, is because it is very well written and researched, has some excellent descriptions, and I do believe some people will love it.
    I recommend this book if you absolutely love history and would like to while away a few hours reading about a generally ignored time period.
    I received this book through The Book Club Network for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

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  • Posted April 30, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    THE PELICAN BRIDE by Beth White is an engaging Inspirational His

    THE PELICAN BRIDE by Beth White is an engaging Inspirational Historical Romance set in 1704 Louisiana Colony, the French colony, which will later become, Mobile, Alabama. #1 in the "Gulf Coast Chronicles" series. What a beginning!

    Meet, Genevieve Gaillain, a Frenchwoman and her sister, Aimee, who left France, in hopes of finding happiness, freedom of religion, a home and family. Tristan Lanier, farmer and expatriate cartographer, has a checkered past.

    Genevieve falls in love with Tristan, but he is shrouded with mystery, and secrets. Trouble is brewing inside and outside of the Fort. Genevieve and Aimee, left France hoping to find peace and happiness, but what they find is turmoil and danger.

    Jealousy, betrayal, murder, deception, secrets, a desire to worship freely in the Land of Liberty, but this land, may be filled with danger and a deadly enemy, that could destroy them all.

    The characters are engaging, believable, realistic and challenging. The storyline is filled with intrigue, and mystery. If you enjoy historical romance, danger, a hero who will not bow to what is wrong,but fight for what he believes is right and a fearless, kind heroine, I suggest you pick up THE PELICAN BRIDE, you will not regret your choice of reading material. I can hardly wait to see what is in store for us in the next installment. Ms. While has written a tale of intrigue and romance, with a unique setting and powerful characters. A great read! Received for an honest review from the publisher.

    RATING: 4.5

    HEAT RATING: SWEET

    REVIEWED BY: AprilR, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More

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  • Posted April 30, 2014

     This novel is filled with history, political intrigue, and reli

     This novel is filled with history, political intrigue, and religious persecution. Genevieve Gaillain and her sister arrive in the new world in order to escape from their old lives. But life in the new world isn’t going to be easy.

    Tristan Lanier is the first man Genevieve meets upon her arrival, and she is drawn to him despite his straightforward declaration that he is not in need of a wife. Although I loved their relationship, I was a bit disappointed by how it developed. It felt like a spur-of-the-moment “let’s get married” and then they parted ways for a large portion of the rest of the book.

    Although I have my reservations about the main characters, there was one character that I was intrigued by whenever the story turned to her. For me, Nika made this book. Her struggle was the one I was interested in learning about. And what secrets she held! When she unexpectedly reunites with her ex-beau, her inner turmoil is palpable. But her choices don’t only affect her now, they affect her family. What will she choose to do?

    *I was provided a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*

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  • Posted April 29, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Take a step back in time... The Pelican Bride Gulf Coast Chronic

    Take a step back in time...
    The Pelican Bride
    Gulf Coast Chronicles #1
    By Beth White

    I was attracted to this book by the cover and then when I read the synopsis I knew I had to review The Pelican Bride.
     I was not disappointed in this, the first in the Gulf Coast Chronicles, nor were my expectations too high.  

    1704 is a time of upheaval in France - political and religious.  And it is from this very persecution and certain death
    that Geneviève Gaillain and her sister Aimee are fleeing.   But is the Louisiana a place where these refugees can
    worship in peace?

    But the New World has dangers that Geneviève wasn't expecting and the promises made were mostly empty.  Having
    made a commitment to marry one of the men who has settled the Louisiana colony, Geneviève is determined to keep
    her past and her faith a secret.  But secrets have a way of being revealed and Geneviève's could destroy her dreams of
    a future if hers come out.

    What I like best about this story is Geneviève's attempts to join this world she has come to.  She doesn't cling to past,
    but reaches out to those whom call this region home and learns from them.  

    I've never read any books set in both this time and place before and found it to be an enjoyable excursion. The stark
    conditions made for difficult and harsh living conditions.  There are also hints of trouble between the French and British
    as they vie for treaties with the various Indian tribes throughout the region.  If fact, just such a negotiation is a central
    story in this book.

    Jealousy, betrayal, murder, deception and a desire to worship God freely - the new Louisiana colony has it all.  The
    Pelican Bride is sure to capture your attention and make you a fan of historical fiction. (if you aren't already).  As an added
    bonus there is a short excerpt from Book 2 and some historical background information about the region.

    I was provided a copy of this book by Revell in exchange for my honest review

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  • Posted April 27, 2014

    What originally caught my attention about The Pelican Bride was

    What originally caught my attention about The Pelican Bride was its gorgeous cover! The woman has such a dreamy look in her eyes and it is just downright beautiful. Then, I scanned the book blurb and I knew that I had to read it! It is set in 1704. Genevieve Gaillain and her sister have just arrived in the Louisiana colony. In order to secure passage on the frigate, Pelican, they have both agreed to marry men who have settled in the colony.

    Genevieve is a really fascinating character to read about. She is very strong and determined, yet she has a past that is obviously haunting her. She is burdened with guilt and she really worries about her younger sister, who seems not to care a whit about Genevieve! And, oh my goodness, I just love the character of Tristan Lanier. He has survived such horrendous heartache and yet he is such a strong and good man. His devotion to those he loves is very admirable and makes for a really wonderful hero for the novel.

    I had not read any other books set in this time period about this specific part of America’s history and I found it really interesting. I learned so much through this rich and deeply moving story full of such intriguing characters. I loved the romance between the two main characters. It was definitely sigh worthy! This is the first book that I have read by this author and it will definitely not be the last.

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from Baker Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.

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  • Posted April 27, 2014

    It is 1704 and Geneviève Gaillain, her sister and several other

    It is 1704 and Geneviève Gaillain, her sister and several other young maidens have arrived in Louisiane to find husbands and begin a new life.  This book is full of suspense and mystery.  I actually thought there was more intrigue in the story and plot than romance.  And it seems many of the characters were putting on a pretense in one-way or another. Part of the mystery was discerning the motives of the various characters.  Were they honorable or not? I really liked the heroine Geneviève.  She was a strong, compassionate and confident woman.  I also liked the setting as I have never read anything about the gulf coast during the early 1700’s before and it made the story more interesting.  There were moments in the book where it was difficult to discern how much time had passed between events making it confusing for me.  Overall I liked the author’s style of writing, especially her vocabulary.  At the end of the book there is “A Word to the Reader” which really gave me an appreciation for the author’s diligence in researching the time period of the book along with helpful insights.

    I would recommend this book for someone that likes history and romance without being overly sentimental.  

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Books in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted April 27, 2014

    Vivid imagery and credible characters.  Recommended! I enjoyed B

    Vivid imagery and credible characters.  Recommended!
    I enjoyed Beth White's earlier novels several years ago and am delighted that she has released another one. The Pelican Bride is set in the days when what is now Alabama was just a territory. Vivid imagery and credible characters whisk the reader three centuries back in time, giving a new appreciation for the hardships faced by the early settlers. Conflict abounds both within and without the walls of the fort, and it isn't clear which is more dangerous. Whoever believes that women are the weaker sex has never read of the women who arrived on ships such as the Pelican to marry strangers and populate this new land. Don't miss this tragic and tender tale!




    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Baker/Revell Publishers as part of a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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  • Posted April 26, 2014

    In this twenty-first century world of ours it is hard to imagine

    In this twenty-first century world of ours it is hard to imagine crossing an ocean to marry someone we've never met and live in a place we know nothing about. The teenage girls known as the Pelican Brides did just that. Many of them came to escape poverty or persecution in France. The journey to what is now Mobile, Alabama took three months and many didn't even make it to Louisiane. Once there they were met with conditions that were not as promised. The men they had to choose from were not exactly what they had expected either.




    In The Pelican Bride we follow this journey with Geneviève Gaillain and her younger sister. The story begins just as they land at Massacre Island in Mobile Bay. The first man Geneviève meets is Tristan Lanier. He is rugged and handsome but is dead set against marrying. Geneviève is amused by him but is sure that there are better prospects to be had. 




    After only a short time at Fort Louis the pressure begins for each of the young women to find a spouse. If they do not choose soon the support from the Crown will be withdrawn and the unmarried women will be left to fend for themselves. Geneviève doesn't like any of the prospects so she becomes determined to make a way to provide for herself and her sister. She is a trained pastry chef and plans to use those skills to earn a living.




    The New World has many factions that are looking to conquer and settle this wilderness. The tension between the French, British, Spanish and Native Americans is a constant backdrop to everyday life. The harsh conditions and climate add another dimension to the act of building a colony that will grow and prosper.




    This novel had two of my favorite elements. The first is that this is a title from an author unknown to me. I'm very excited to discover her work and looking forward to reading what she has already written and eagerly anticipating what is coming next in this series. The second thing that I enjoyed was reading about a time frame that isn't widely covered in historical fiction. We owe so much to these brave men and women for helping to establish the country we have today. Beth White did a fabulous job of mixing fascinating facts with fictionalized characters to showcase a point in history that would ultimately change the landscape of the world. 




    I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2014

    A distant Louisiana colony in 1704 is certainly a new and foreig

    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.

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  • Posted March 30, 2014

    The Pelican Bride was interesting. I enjoyed the historical info

    The Pelican Bride was interesting. I enjoyed the historical information and detail; however it simply wasn't my style or era. :/ It was well-written and the plot was intricate! I just couldn't really get as involved in the story as I like to. There were a few religious views that I questioned, as well.
    I do absolutely adore the cover! :)
    Beth White is a sweet lady and I so enjoyed my interview/chat with her! She is a talented author, and anyone who enjoys this era/style will be thrilled with this rich and vivid new novel!

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