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THE CREOLE PRINCESS by BETH WHITE REVIEWED

The Creole Princess (Gulf Coast Chronicles)
By Beth White
Published by Revell
ISBN#978-0-8007-2198-5
352 Pages

Back Cover: All along the eastern seaboard, the American struggle for independence rages. In the British-held southern port of Mobile, Alabama, the conflict brewing is quieter--though no less deadly. The lovely Frenchwoman Lyse Lanier is best friends with the daughter of the British commander. Rafael Gonzalez is a charming young Spanish merchant with a secret mission and a shipment of gold to support General Washington. As their paths cross and their destinies become increasingly tangled, Lyse and Rafael must decide where their true loyalties lie--and somehow keep Lyse's family from being executed as traitors to the British Crown.

With spectacular detail that brings the Colonial South alive, Beth White invites readers into a world of intrigue and espionage from a little-known side of the American Revolutionary War. Her richly textured settings and characters delight while fast pacing and closely held secrets will keep readers turning the pages.

REVIEW: I’m thankful for the review copy of a book that swept me into a front row seat to understand the Americans struggle for independence. I immediately connected with her lead characters, sympathized with their daily hardships and was amazed at how they navigated the land mines to stay safe as events leading up to the American Revolutionary war unfolded.

Beth Whit says, “I am a complete and unashamed history nerd…my editor helps me identify places in the story where the reader might have difficulty swallowing some arcane or politically incorrect phrase, or where the context isn't quite obvious enough to explain it. Then it’s a delicate dance, deciding how much is too much – which explanations can most effectively be woven into the story, which should be relegated to this type of afterword. After all, the goal of storytelling is a historical setting is to sweep the reader into an unfamiliar era, surround her with people of long ago, forgotten customs and language and dress, and make her forget for a time that life is zooming by at warp speed.”

This author and editor accomplished their mission. I lost myself in the eras drama. I easily kept up with the history being played out before me. (not something I accomplished in history class Grin) This author went on to say, …”like players in a giant Monopoly game, the nations who held various pieces of American property rolled the metaphorical dice with regard to alliance, trades, and declarations of war, timing their moves for maximum economic advantage, and withholding and releasing information (both true and misleading) with an eye for manipulating friends and enemies a like. The history surrounding the American Revolution is complex, fascinating and surprising – much too complicated to distill into one – paragraph explanation.”

I love learning history through characters I enjoyed as I empathized with them as things heated up for all involved. My favorite character was female lead Lyse Lanier. She was loyal, brave and free spirited. The author says this about her, “I gave Lyse a family tree rich with complex cultural roots and branches –French, Indian, African, Aristocrat, Slave, and Free – much like many modern-day Gulf Coast Natives. I matched her with a man of adventurous, generous, humorous spirit – and then let the story pieces fall where they would.”

This my friends was a winning combination for me. My second favorite character was this leading man she just described. He reminded me of a combination of male leads in movies. First like the Candle stick in Beauty and the Beast. He was suave, daring and new how to romance the ladies. The other was Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind; who was a man’s man, wasn't going to let a woman run his life but yet he was tender hearted. Don Rafa is on a mission when he runs into Lyse Lanier in Mobile, Alabama 1779 when he sees a female in distress.

Don Rafa notices a man is about to overtake Lyse. He defuses the situation then suddenly Lyse puts a knife to his throat and cuts off the buttons of his jacket, then runs off. Rafa stairs at this feisty, brave young woman and laughs. She had no idea what kind of man he was or what he just saved her from.
Neither of them gave much to their first encounter until they meet again under very formal circumstances. It was different this time. They were all dressed up, they got to know each other better this time and each had to play nice because they were being watched. Lyse says, “It’s a very bad situation we’re in.”

“Yes. It is. I shall fix it, Lyse, somehow. Depend on it.”

“You are very much like my brother, Simon, you know. He doesn’t know the meaning of the word impossible.”

…”I find that most things can be remedied with a little ingenuity and persistence.” He grinned at her and touched her nose.

“You will find that we Spaniards are a very persistent race. Now come, let us return to the party before I forget my good intentions and persist in kissing you senseless.”

These two were so much fun to hang out with. So were the supporting cast of intriguing characters and their wild situations. This author shows just how crazy things got as people orchestrated a jump-start to the American Revolution.

Mr. Chaz says, “When things get to where a man can’t express an honest opinion or have a serious debate in a public place without being beat up or locked up, then it’s time for change.”

I was hooked from the start, surprised in parts and glued to these characters and destined to know their out come; I couldn't tear myself away from this novel. This is a great read. I learned so much. I highly recommend this as a book club pick. There is so much in here! Plus it will be so much fun to talk about!

Nora St Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins www.bookfun.org
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