Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Deep Summer by Gwen Bristow

From the back cover:

Bristow does “a grand job of storytelling” (the New York Times) in this memorable novel of the late eighteenth-century pioneers who settled the Louisiana wilderness, establishing a civilization of charm, luxury, and tragic injustice!

For his service in the king’s army during the French and Indian War, Judith Sheramy’s father, a Puritan New Englander, is granted a parcel of land in far-off Louisiana. As the family ventures down the Mississippi to make a new home in the wilderness, Judith meets Philip Larne, an adventurer who travels in the finest clothes Judith has ever seen. He is a rogue, a killer, and a thief—and the first thing he steals is Judith’s heart.

Three thousand acres of untamed jungle, overrun with jaguars, Indians, and pirates, wait for Philip in Louisiana. He and Judith will struggle with their stormy marriage and the challenges of the American Revolution as they strive to build an empire for future generations.

This is the first novel in Gwen Bristow’s Plantation Trilogy, which also includes The Handsome Road and This Side of Glory.

My Review:

Once in a while, a great book comes along – and this is it! From its compelling characters, to the tumultuous backdrop, this family saga kept me enthralled to the very end. The first book in a trilogy, Deep Summer’s main focus is Philip and Judith Larne who marry and establish a plantation in the Louisianna territory. The story expands to encompass key characters from surrounding plantations.

Beautifully written, the storyline moves along at a steady clip as the characters face numerous threats in the form of deceit, fires, yellow fever epidemics, illicit love affairs, and betrayal. Each character is thoughtfully revealed and portrayed - their personal stories rich with detail. And that's what keeps readers hooked throughout. 

History, romance, murder, deceit, honour, and endurance are all themes interwove into the storyline. I could not put the book down once I started and I am eager to read the other two books in the series, in addition to the author’s other titles. If you love rich family sagas that are bold and vivid, then get this book! Truly unputdownable!

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