Savage Lands

( 9 )

Overview

It is 1704 and, while the Sun King Louis XIV rules France from the splendour of Versailles, Louisiana, the new and vast colony named in his honour, is home to fewer than two hundred souls. When a demand is sent requesting wives be dispatched for the struggling settlers, Elisabeth is among the twenty-three girls who set sail from France to be married to men of whom they know absolutely nothing. Educated and skeptical, Elisabeth has little hope for happiness in her new life. It is to her astonishment that she, ...

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Savage Lands

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Overview

It is 1704 and, while the Sun King Louis XIV rules France from the splendour of Versailles, Louisiana, the new and vast colony named in his honour, is home to fewer than two hundred souls. When a demand is sent requesting wives be dispatched for the struggling settlers, Elisabeth is among the twenty-three girls who set sail from France to be married to men of whom they know absolutely nothing. Educated and skeptical, Elisabeth has little hope for happiness in her new life. It is to her astonishment that she, alone among the brides, finds herself passionately in love with her new husband, Jean-Claude, a charismatic and ruthlessly ambitious soldier.

Auguste, a poor cabin boy from Rochefort, must also adjust to a startlingly unexpected future. Abandoned in a remote native village, he is charged by the colony’s governor with mastering the tribe’s strange language while reporting back on their activities. It is there that he is befriended by Elisabeth’s husband as he begins the slow process of assimilation back into life among the French. The love Elisabeth and Auguste share for Jean-Claude changes both of their lives irrevocably. When in time he betrays them both, they find themselves bound together in ways they never anticipated.

With the same compelling prose and vividly realized characters that won her widespread acclaim for THE GREAT STINK and THE NATURE OF MONSTERS, Clare Clark takes us deep into the heart of colonial French Louisiana.

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Editorial Reviews

John Vernon
In many respects, Savage Lands is a good old-fashioned (that is, slow and deliberate) 19th-century novel, with all the weight of material detail and all the unexpected turns of plot and shifts of time and place that we expect from such productions. The physical world of Louisiana, its bursting ripeness and rot, becomes a metaphor for the characters' inner lives, and this is undoubtedly where the novel's strength lies.
—The New York Times
Sybil Steinberg
Clark's descriptions of the land—brutally hot, swampy, fetid with stagnant, mosquito-breeding water, unprotected from devastating spring floods and autumn hurricanes—provide a richly atmospheric backdrop for the intertwined lives of three settlers who are newcomers to this unwelcoming terrain…Equally potent as the encompassing sense of place, the moral complexities that influence these characters infuse Savage Lands with emotional resonance. Clark's commitment to historical color is matched by the dramatic arc of an engrossing story.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Clark (The Great Stink) bases her third novel on the true story of the first French settlers in America and the women who are sent to be their wives. Her dual protagonists—the novel begins as two narratives which then converge—are the independent Elisabeth Savaret and the curious youth, Auguste. Elisabeth sets herself apart from her gossipy sister brides-to-be, finding solace in her books, but when she meets her rugged husband, she softens into a devoted wife and hopeful mother. Auguste is assigned the task of learning the ways and language of “the savages” since alliance with the native population is key to France's position in the New World. Throughout the novel Elisabeth and Auguste experience all the tropes common to life in the colonies. Clark has many graces as a writer, but while she brims with enthusiasm over her novel's world and delights in describing every facet of it, her penchant for overwriting makes what could be a fast-moving romp into a slog. She is an assiduous researcher, but too eager to show it. Still, Clark's passion for her story overcomes and will please lovers of historical fiction. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Clark follows up her acclaimed The Nature of Monsters with another historical novel set in the same era (the 18th century) but in the New World. This tale of French Louisiana revolves around the arrival of the first casket girls, virtuous poor girls of good families guaranteed good husbands in the colony and carrying their belongings in small chests called caskets. Among them is Elisabeth Savaret, who falls in love with her soldier husband, August. Meanwhile, the French officials responsible for the survival of the little colony realize they must cultivate the native tribes in the area. Their success is achieved with varying levels of integrity, providing much of the plot and considerable exploration of the novel's title. VERDICT The author treats the founding of French Louisiana with her signature dark realism and beautiful handling of character, plot, and pacing. Readers of Clark's earlier novels will enjoy this; it should also appeal to those interested in women's, French, New Orleans, or colonial-period history and in Native Americans. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/09.]—Mary Kay Bird-Guilliams, Wichita P.L., KS\
Kirkus Reviews
Poetic, powerfully visualized yet oppressive account of French settlement in Louisiana during the early 18th century. Clark (The Nature of Monsters, 2007, etc.) exchanges swampy London for fetid North America in her intense, closely detailed, female-driven narrative exploring the dogged struggles for coexistence and survival by European and Native-American communities. Her protagonist is Elisabeth Savaret, one of the "casket girls" contracted by the French government to sail to the New World as brides for the colonists. Elisabeth is not one of the "chickens" (her dismissive name for the other women); an independent, fierce and intellectual loner, she has the good fortune both to love and desire the man she marries, Jean-Claude Babelon. But the couple's happiness founders on his ruthless ambition and her failure to carry a pregnancy to term. Jean-Claude's drive for riches, which involves slavery, gun-running and betrayal, results eventually in his murder. Auguste Guichard, who loves both Babelons, is the third major character. Deeply involved in his friends' fates, he serves as the living antithesis of Jean-Claude's proto-capitalism: Auguste learns the Native-American languages, appreciates their cultures and grows indigenous plants. Later, with Elisabeth and Auguste married to other settlers, their paths cross again, and guilt is declared and shared. After much suffering, there is still hope. Although finely textured, this oblique, murkily downbeat tale often loses its thrust in the details.
From the Publisher
"The author treats the founding of French Louisiana with her signature dark realism and beautiful handling of character, plot, and pacing. Readers of Clark's earlier novels will enjoy this; it should also appeal to those interested in women's, French, New Orleans, or colonial-period history and in Native Americans."— Library Journal
 

"Clark’s vast store of historical and geographical detail enriches the portraits of her three vibrant characters, whose destinies are inextricably, and memorably, bound."—Booklist 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547386430
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/4/2010
  • Pages: 406
  • Sales rank: 1,347,146
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

CLARE CLARK is the author of four novels, including The Great Stink, which was long-listed for the Orange Prize and named a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and Savage Lands , also long-listed for the Orange Prize. Her work has been translated into five languages. She lives in London.

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Read an Excerpt

ON THE NINETEENTH DAY of April in the year of our Lord 1704, the Pélican, a recently captured Dutch vessel of some six hundred tons, weighed anchor and headed for the open sea. Elisabeth stood on the main deck with several of the other girls, her hand raised to shade her eyes as the spires and towers of La Rochelle dwindled against the horizon. It was a fine day, unseasonably warm, the storms of the past weeks washed clean from the sky. Above her the men hauled on ropes or hung like spiders from the rigging, shouting to one another above the sharp slap and crack of the sails, but for once none of the girls spoke, though Marie-Françoise de Boisrenaud reached out and took the hand of little Renée Gilbert, who swayed a little, lettuce pale. Though exorbitantly overloaded, the heavy-hipped ship slid smoothly through the unruffled water, her company of twelve attending gun boats fanned out behind her, the creamy wake unfolding from her stern like a wedding veil.
   It should have been over by now, her fate decided. With October barely a week old and a ship readied in Rochefort, the bishop had declared it probable that most of the girls would be settled by the new year. On the day that her godfather was to take her to Paris to meet the coach, she had stood in her attic bedroom, her hand on the iron latch of the window, gazing out through the rain-speckled glass at the crumpled clutter of roofs and chimneys heaped up against the smoke-grimed sky, and she had thought, When the leaves return I shall be married. Beyond the barricades of the weaving mills and the dyehouses, the bare trees ran through the sky like cracks in ice. The window frame was old and warped, the paint peeling in scabs. She ran her finger along the cold loop of the latch as the wind rattled the loose panes, and the draft made her shiver.
   From the shop her aunt called her name, her voice wilting on the last syllable. Elisabeth turned away from the window, holding her arms tight across her chest for warmth, but she did not answer. It seemed to her that though she was not yet gone, the room had accustomed itself already to her absence. The bed in the corner of the room had been stripped of its sheets and rugs, its drapes knotted up so that the mattress might be aired. The door to the press hung open, its shelves and compartments empty but for a few yellowed sheets of the paper her aunt insisted upon to prevent the stained wood from spoiling the linens. The ewer and basin with their pattern of faded forget-me-nots had been rinsed and wrapped and put away in the kitchen, and there was no fire laid in the small grate. Even the old writing desk was bare, its curved legs buckling as though they might give way without the steadying disorder of books and pamphlets and catalogs and papers that habitually crowded its surface. Elisabeth stroked its scarred top, tracing the grain of the wood with her finger. Though elaborately carved at the feet, the desk was the work of an unskilled woodsmith, its table insufficiently deep for its breadth, its fragile legs ill-suited to so sturdy a piece. Beside them the squat legs of the ladder-backed kitchen chair straddled the floor with the stolidity of a taverner on market day.
   Again Elisabeth heard her aunt calling for her and again she did not answer. Instead she pulled out the chair and sat down. The frayed rush seat had always been too high and it comforted her to feel the familiar press of the desk’s underside against her thighs. Sometimes, on those too few occasions when she contrived to sit here all day, she had undressed at night to find the shape of it printed in secret lines on her skin. The desk was shabby, ink-stained and scabbed with candle wax, its single splintery drawer split with age and clumsily nailed together, but she was filled with a sudden longing to take it. It was impossible, of course. Even if her aunt had agreed to such a notion, each of the twenty-three girls was permitted only a single trunk.
   Elisabeth had packed the books herself, taking out some of the heavier linens her aunt had selected from the shop. She did not tell her aunt. Her aunt thought like most women and considered a tablecloth or a set of handkerchiefs of considerably greater value than the words of La Rochefoucauld or Racine. If it had not been for her godfather, she would never have managed to accumulate even her own modest library. A respected merchant, Plomier Deseluse was no bibliophile, considering books a pitiable proxy for the pleasures of company and of cards, but he was both prosperous and goodhearted. When Elisabeth’s uncle had died, he had settled upon her a small allowance from which she might purchase what he referred to as the necessary niceties. It would, he said, serve her until she was of an age to be wed.
   “Elisabeth!”
   Elisabeth set her palms flat on the desk. There was an ink stain on the longest finger of her right hand, a pattern of freckles on the back of her left like the five on a die. Her hands at least she might take with her. She closed her eyes. Then she lowered her head and set her cheek upon the desk, inhaling its faint smells of old varnish and ink powder. The King would buy her books from henceforth. The arrangements had been brokered by the bishop, whose diocese of Quebec had recently been extended to contain the new settlement in Louisiana. In addition to her trousseau, each girl would receive a small stipend from His Majesty’s Ministry of the Marine to support her until she was married, for a period not to exceed one year. Deseluse considered the bargain to be more than reasonable. There were perhaps one hundred unmarried men in Louisiana, many in a position to support a wife. The girls would have their pick of them.
   Downstairs a door slammed.
   “For the love of peace, niece, must I shout myself hoarse?”
   Without opening her eyes, Elisabeth raised her head a little. Her nose brushed the desk as, very lightly, she pressed her lips against its waxy surface. Then, unsettled by her own foolishness, she rose and walked quickly across the room. She did not turn around as she closed the door behind her and descended the stairs toward her aunt.
 
Deseluse had been late. As her aunt hastened to greet him, her hands smoothing invisible creases from her skirts, Elisabeth watched the dark shape of his carriage beyond the swirled glass of the windows, heard the impatient jangle and slap of a horse shifting in its traces, the raised voice of a man objecting angrily to the obstruction. The afternoon had darkened, though it was hardly three o’clock, and the lamps were already lit, bright as coins in their buttery brass sconces. In their glow the long polished counter gleamed like a thoroughbred. Elisabeth leaned against the brass measure that ran the length of the counter, feeling its sharp edge press against her belly.
   She had loved this shop when first she had come to live here. Accustomed to the frugal plainness of her father’s home, she had thought herself awoken in a jewel box. She had gazed in wonder as her aunt took down the heavy bolts of silk and velvet and gossamer mousseline, billowing them out so that her customers might appreciate their fineness, the grace of their fall. Along one wall of the shop were tiny drawers containing buttons of every shape and hue, buttons of shell and bone and polished metal and every shade of colored glass that flashed like firecrackers when you held them in the light. She had not known there were so many colors in the world. Sometimes, when she was supposed to be working on her sewing, she had crept into the shop and hidden beneath the counter, aching to dip her hands into the rattling drawers of buttons and throw them into the air, to pull great spools of color from the reels of ribbons and trimmings and threads so that she might fill the air with their brilliant patterns. She had not thought then that it was possible to be oppressed by the ceaseless cram of color and stuff, that sometimes, when the day was ended, she would desire only to slip into the lane behind the shop and tip her head back, restored to herself by the grimy gray pallor of approaching dusk.
   “Elisabeth, my dear.”
   Plomier Deseluse stepped into the shop, shaking the wet from his shoulders like a dog. His wig, bulky and horned in the old-fashioned style, glinted with rain. Elisabeth bobbed a curtsey, inclining her head.
   “Sir.”
   “Come out from behind there and let me kiss you. It is not every day that I despatch a ward of mine to be married.”
   Elisabeth’s smile stiffened as, obediently, she stepped out into the shop and allowed her godfather to embrace her. He smelled of claret and wet wool.
   “Officially I suppose you are now a ward of the King or some such, but we should not let such formalities prevent a fond farewell.” He took a large handkerchief from his pocket and blew his nose loudly into it. “This is your box?” Leaning out into the damp lane, he gestured at the coachman to load the trunk onto the back of the carriage. When the door clicked shut behind him he shivered. “Wretched miserable weather.”
   “Please, come warm yourself by the fire,” Elisabeth’s aunt said hastily. “May I bring you some tea? A little port wine?”
   Deseluse shook his head.
   “We should leave directly.” He nodded at Elisabeth. “You are ready?”
   “Yes, sir.”
   “Then let us be off. The roads are hardly safe in darkness.” He bowed to Elisabeth’s aunt. “Good day, Madame. My wife wished me to tell you that she shall call on you tomorrow. It seems a woman can never have enough dresses.”
   Elisabeth’s aunt bared her teeth in a smile. Her teeth were yellow, a slightly darker shade than her complexion.
   “I hope, sir, that you too shall come back and see us, though Elisabeth is gone. We should be most obliged.”
   “Yes, yes, well, I am sure,” Deseluse said, and he gave his shoulders another brisk shake. “Now, Elisabeth, you are ready?”
   Elisabeth looked at the smooth gleam of the counter, at the bolts of cloth stacked on their deep shelves, and she thought of the long afternoons when she had thought she might die of the dullness of it. On the wall her shears hung from their blue ribbon, their blades slightly parted. Her fingers twined together, the tips hard against the points of her knuckles.
   “Come along, now,” urged her aunt.
   Slowly Elisabeth turned. The door was open and outside the rain flurried in petulant squalls. Pulling up the hood of her cape, she touched her lips to her aunt’s yellow cheek.
   “Godspeed, Niece, and may God bless you.”
   “Farewell, Aunt.”
   “Write and tell us how you find things. Your cousins shall be curious. Louisiana. Imagine.”
   “Imagine,” Elisabeth echoed, and she rolled up her mind like a length of ribbon so that she might not.
 
Of the twenty-three girls, seventeen would be traveling from Paris. Some of the girls had connections to the convents and missions of Paris; others, like Elisabeth, had been proposed to the bishop by patrons of his acquaintance. Twenty-three girls between the ages of fourteen and eighteen, girls of high moral character, not all of them well-born, but all raised in virtue and in piety, fine stock from which to breed a new France in the New World.
   Twenty-three girls who might otherwise never be wed.
   She knew only that the men of Louisiana were mostly soldiers or civilian officials in the pay of the King. Some were Canadian, the rest French. One of these men would become her husband. She had signed a contract to make it so. For fifteen sols a day and a trunk of linen and lace, she had sold herself into exile, property of the King of France until, in a savage land on the other side of the world, a man she had never met might take her in marriage, a man of whom she knew nothing, not even his name.
   If such a fate was preferable to the future that had beckoned her in Saint-Denis, married according to the arrangements of her aunt or confined to repeat forever the same dreary day behind the -counter of the mercer’s shop, there was poor comfort in it. It was miserable to be a grown woman, more miserable still to be a grown woman with neither the funds or the affections a grown woman must have at her disposal if she was to contrive her own future. As a child Elisabeth had liked to lie on her belly beneath the table in the kitchen, a book on the floor before her. It was warm in the kitchen and friendly. She had lain beneath the table and the words in the book and the hiss of the fire and the grunts and slaps above her as Madeleine kneaded the dough for bread had wrapped themselves around her like a blanket, muffling time. When it was dinner the old servant had been obliged to bend over, her breath coming in short puffs as she threatened to sweep Elisabeth from her hiding place with her sharp—bristled broom. Elisabeth had laughed then and tickled Madeleine behind her fat knees and thought how, when she was a woman, she would make her home under a table where the world was all stories and swollen ankles.
   Then her father had died and Madeleine had gone and Elisabeth had been sent to live with her father’s sister in Saint-Denis. In her aunt’s house there were boys and wooden crates under the kitchen table where her aunt kept the china, wrapped carefully against breakage. Elisabeth was ten then and hardly a girl at all. Her aunt required her to work in the shop during the day, or to help with the house. Elisabeth read at night beneath a candle that guttered in the midnight draft from the window. Sometimes, when she lay down to sleep, the night sky had already begun to curl up at the edges, exposing the gray-pink linings of the day, and she could hear the heavy wheels of the vegetable wagons as they rumbled down the lane. Her aunt complained about the candles and rebuked Elisabeth for yawning in the shop, but the old woman was weary too and her heart was not in it.
   A husband was another matter. When she was married, Elisabeth thought, even the nights would not be her own.
 
The box was large and flat, tied about with string. At his master’s instruction, the coachman set it on the table in the main parlor of the coaching inn. Though the taverner had informed them that several of the other girls were already arrived, the room was empty and ill-lit. The fire in the grate smoked and beneath the choke of it the inn smelled strongly of soup and spilled brandy.
   “Well, go on then,” Deseluse said, his spirits somewhat restored by the arrival of a large glass of Madeira wine. “Open it.”
   Elisabeth hesitated.
   “What is it?” she asked.
   “Proof if any was needed that no one ever learned wisdom from reading books,” the merchant observed dryly to the taverner, and he pressed a coin into the man’s palm. “Why don’t you open it, my dear, and see for yourself?”
   Elisabeth did as she was told, lifting the lid from the wooden box. The silk inside was a milky green, the green of the tiny jade tiger that the bookseller kept on his desk in the shop behind the cathedral. The tiger had been brought from the Orient by the bookseller’s brother, against its will Elisabeth supposed, for its curiously human face was contorted into a furious scowl. She would never again enter that shop, she thought suddenly, never again hear the arthritic jangle of the bell over the door as it opened or breathe in the smell of dust and leather and patent medicines that caused her nose to wrinkle and her heart to lift, and she fumbled with the box, striking her wrist painfully against its sharp edge.
   “Take it out,” her godfather urged, and he leaned into the box and scooped clouds of green into her arms. The quilt spilled from her embrace to sweep the floor, the cool silk heavy with feathers. The taverner whistled.
   “Goose,” Deseluse said. “From the Périgord. The finest down in all of France.”
 Elisabeth stroked the quilt and the heaviness of it was like the heaviness in her chest.
   “Thank you,” she said. “It’s beautiful.”
   “A wedding present,” he said. “With a good wife beside him and a good quilt on top of him, a man may sleep like a king.”
   “Better still the other way around,” the taverner rejoined with a leer that, at the merchant’s frown, he quickly adjusted to deference. “May I fetch you another glass of that, sir?”
   When the taverner was gone, Deseluse took the quilt from Elisabeth and laid it carefully across the back of a wooden settle.
   “There is something else in the box too. Something I was given that I thought might amuse you. Here, let me.” He reached into the crate and drew out three heavy volumes bound in tooled leather. “Handsome bindings. Worth a few livres I shouldn’t wonder.”
   Elisabeth’s hands reached out like a beggar’s.
   “For me?”
   “Well, they are not for that impudent taverner, that is certain!” He turned the top volume on its side so that he could read the spine. “Essais Volume I by Michel de Montaigne. With two and three to follow, if you have appetite enough for them.”
   Elisabeth gasped as, without ceremony, he hefted the three books into her arms. Montaigne’s Attempts. Her father had spoken to her of Montaigne, had called him one of the great sages of the modern world, and it had immediately intrigued her, that a man of eminence would label his life’s work so.
   “Attempts!” Deseluse declared, shaking his head. “It would appear that Sieur de Montaigne had a thing or two to learn about salesmanship.”
   But Elisabeth did not laugh.
   “Thank you,” she whispered and her voice shook a little. “I—I don’t know what to say.”
   “Heavens, my dear, they are only books. Thank you will do very well.”
   Much later, after supper when at last she was able to escape to her room, Elisabeth opened the first volume. The pages were uncut, the book folded in on itself like a secret. Elisabeth ran a finger over the inked lettering of the frontispiece and the urge to cut the pages was like a stitch in her side. But she did not. She thought of the other girls in the parlor and she twisted, constrained even in recollection by the sticky, stifling bounds of their obedient inconsequentiality, and she told herself—not yet.
 All through the months of waiting in Rochefort, when the war with the English necessitated delay upon delay and she thought she might die of the other girls and their prattle, she had not succumbed. The volumes remained in her trunk uncut. Sometimes at night, for comfort, she took them onto her lap, stroking the leather bindings, running her finger over the fine gilded lettering. On the voyage, perhaps, if it was bad and she could not endure it, perhaps then she might permit herself the first chapters. A mouthful or two, just enough to sustain her.
   She would keep the rest for Louisiana.
 
Now, the wind-fattened sails bulged contentedly as the ship traced a wide arc away from land. The dark stain of the sea widened and spread. Far off on the horizon, the port stretched narrow, no more than a raveled thread hemming the sky before it pulled tight. Then it was gone.
   The girls shifted, murmuring among themselves. Pulling herself up onto the rail, Elisabeth leaned out, stretching her neck into the wind. Beyond the prow the sea spilled over the lip of the horizon, tipping them toward their future. Elisabeth wrapped her arms around the rail, tasting salt and the nostrum sting of tar, and thought of St. Augustine, who believed that the earth was as flat as a stove lid and that it floated on water like a slice of orange. Astronomers had proved one thousand times over that the world was a globe, but still she found herself thinking of the place where the oceans ceased, the sigh of the ship as it was borne over the fall into the abyss.
   Slowly, in a shuffling line, as though shackled together, the girls trailed back toward their quarters. Elisabeth did not follow them. In the distance a dark smear above the indigo line of the sea looked like land. She knew it was not land. Ahead of them stretched the Atlantic sea, one thousand inscrutable leagues of water and wind and English warships. Beyond that, if they should survive it, lay the islands of the New World.
   Elisabeth stared out to sea for a long time. In Rochefort the townsfolk had called Louisiana “the drowned lands.” They muttered of a barren swamp inhabited only by boy soldiers and wild Canadian hunters, a pestilent wilderness stalked by wild animals and wilder men. Above her, on the orlop deck, animals rattled and stamped in their cramped pens. The hold was too crowded to accommodate them, packed tight with muskets and gunpowder, barrels of flour and wine and bacon, bolts of cloth and miles of rope and twenty-three trunks crammed to bursting with the newly acquired necessities of a stranger’s bride. When at last she turned away, squeezing her eyes shut, the brightness of the sun repeated itself on her darkness in patterns of red.
   Behind the narrow ladder that led to the foredeck, she drew the book from her pocket. The wood smelled of salt and warm varnish. Elisabeth drew her knees up to her chest, making a kind of lectern of them, and fingered the fraying ribbon that marked her place. Homer’s Odyssey, translated into French. A cheap clothbound copy, printed on cheap paper.
   “An epic journey,” the bookseller had said when she paid for it.
   “Except that Odysseus comes home,” she had replied, and she had hurried out of the shop before he could answer.

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Colonial Louisiana written by someone in London.

    It is a good read, although plenty of it is conjured and not history. Good escapism.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2012

    Tangled like the bayou

    I started this novel with high hopes and ended when the dull, convoluded story lines strangled my desire to finish. I ended up skimming a fourth of it and totally skipping at least three chapters. Elisabeth's story as an early day mail order bride begins with promise. What frustrated me was how quickly the intermingling plotlines become too complicated to follow. The main character's thoughts and emotions are shared in a vague and contrived manner. Overall a disappointment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2010

    Not my favorite

    This book I have not yet finished, which for me is a sign. I put it down and have since read and completed three others and I am in no hurry to go back to it. The characters are not interesting. To me there was little growth and development but there was whining. Perhaps I am not being fair since I have not completed the book but like I said, right now, I don't care enough about the story or the characters to see them to completion.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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