In the 1704 Louisiana colony, the French stronghold on the land is wavering in the face of continual difficulties with the British and the Natives.
To help settle and civilize the large population of men in the colony, a frigate named the Pelican has come in from France with lovely, mannered young women as potential brides. On the Pelican are Genevieve and her sister Aimee.
Unlike the other girls who are primarily from a convent, Genevieve and Aimee are hiding their persecution from their outlawed beliefs and a tragic, haunting loss in France they hope to escape in the colonies.
Yet, as Genevieve finds herself drawn to Tristan – an exile mapmaker turned farmer – she comes to realize that even in this land of freedom, peace is not guaranteed. Nor can she practice her reformed beliefs without fear of suspicion.
Both inside and outside the fort, danger is looming – Genevieve and Aimee aren’t the only ones with a secret…
The Pelican Bride has multiple viewpoints, keeping it from a traditional romance – which I liked quite a bit. We get story and perspective from Genevieve, Tristan, Aimee and many other people that populate the colony or the wilds surrounding it. This made it feel fresher, and allowed for more plot.
There’s an edge to the story as some rather grisly backgrounds are revealed and/or hinted at. Along with the happily-not-forced romance, there’s suspense that creates a well-done political, historical thriller in The Pelican Bride. It has excellent historical detail, as well.
Beth White creates characters that have complicated personalities, pasts and motives. We see a darkness punctuating the novel, setting it apart from much of Christian fiction but grounding it more in less than pleasant reality – yet still making for an enjoyable read.
I really liked The Pelican Bride and am interested to continue the series as the next book comes out!
*I received a copy of The Pelican Bride from the Baker Publishing Group. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.