Paris, 1792. When Jean-Louis Aubert narrowly escapes death in the bloody streets of Paris during the French Revolution, he abandons his study for the priesthood and seeks a safe haven in the French Caribbean colony of Saint-Domingue. Through a chance meeting with wealthy silk merchant and plantation owner Michel Saunier and his family, Jean finds work and romance on the steamy tropical island, where black slaves are forced to labor inhumanely in the sugarcane fields. For young Marie Josephine Saunier, her anticipated adventure on the island turns to tragedy and loss, as the slaves' quest for freedom erupts in a terrifying rebellion. The colony is thrust into a war of race and revenge that ends with the formation of a new nation, Haiti. Estranged by the war and their own inner conflicts, Jean and Marie escape separately to nearby Cuba. But their refuge in the Spanish colony is short-lived. Forced into exile again, they join thousands of French emigres sailing to the new American city of New Orleans. Inspired by a true story and sweeping through four countries and two decades, this historical novel is peopled with figures such as King Louis XVI and Toussaint Louverture, the former slave known as Haiti's liberator. In Liberty's Name brings to life the events of a tumultuous period whose impact was felt worldwide and whose influence remains today.
|Publisher:||Knox Robinson Holdings, LLC|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||2 MB|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In Liberty’s Name, offers a vivid and detailed account of the links between the French Revolution, the Haitian Revolution and the migration of French nationals, Haitian slaves, and mixed race, French speaking, free persons to New Orleans over the last years of the 18th century and beginning of the 19th. Rumpf tells the story by following one young man as he flees France where he was preparing to be a priest, rather accidentally ends up in Saint-Domingue, joining the planter class, first as an employee, then as an owner. As he makes the trip across the Atlantic, the story picks up the parallel thread of the odyssey of his younger future wife. Both eventually are tossed up on the shores of southern Louisiana. The story of the characters contains many personal events and follows their character development over twenty years as they respond to these events. Still, Rumpf’s main interest is to render the historical context and to show how individual human lives can be tossed about by the—to them often completely unanticipated—societal events around them. The history of Saint-Domingue, and the multi-stage revolution that turned half the island into the nation of Haiti, was mostly unknown to me. Nonetheless, I found the story absorbing. For persons whose ancestry is connected with the events, but who also do not know the story of the French migration, the book should be fascinating. New Orleans was so profoundly affected by the sudden migration in the early nineteenth century of both French nationals and the slaves and mixed race free persons who fled Haiti with them, that most people from that region will find something of their history in this story. In Author’s Notes, Rumpf tells us that she is directly descended from a real couple whose names she has changed to make fictional characters whose lives and consciousness contain a level of detail not be found in the records, or even the (often contradictory) family recollections, that she diligently sought out. The hardcover is a physical pleasure to hold, with a handsome cover that suggests the tale within and clear printing on heavy paper. One feels drawn into an earlier time as one embarks upon reading it.