Drawn together by a wayward child they both love, an independent beauty long scorned by New Orleans society and a wealthy shipping magnate guard their fragile hearts even as their passion forges an undeniable bond.
I nearly didn’t read this one because the author’s name is similar to another author’s (I’m not sure it’s doing this author any favours) and I got them mixed up. I’m so glad I did read it! Even with the weird cover!
I am guilty of behaving like far too many historical romance readers and baulking at the prospect of reading about new time periods and settings. It is no wonder the subgenre is so stagnant! I am so glad I pushed myself to read Josette despite my initial reservations, because this is one of the best historical romances I’ve read in a while.
Set in New Orleans in 1857, I cannot say what is accurate or inaccurate in the story, but there are few historical romances that immerse you in a time and place as well as this one does. And even considering that I’ve recently been complaining about being SICK AND TIRED of books about single fathers and young widows (this book features both), I still enjoyed those aspects of the story. The daughter is a great character.
I read Kathleen Bittner Roth’s debut novel, which was set in Victorian England, and remember thinking she had talent but wasn’t quite comfortable with her subject matter. I see now that like most authors she tried her hand at a British setting (which is practically what you have to do in order to get published), while what she excels at is US history. This was such an engrossing read.
There is so much that can be done with this era of history, and yet it seems there are so few authors willing to do it. I know many stick to books about the titled classes because they don’t want to read about Victorian-era poverty, but step down one rung and life is still comfortable, and also much more fascinating. I’m no expert on New Orleans in any era, but the different lifestyles represented in this one are fascinating.
Another point: you don’t need to read the rest of the series to read this one.
I do think the book might be a little long, but it is a minor complaint.
My other niggles are pretty specific:
- Sex when gravely ill, and sex when in 1850s dress. 1857 was the era of the mega dress, the hoop skirt that even the media of the time ridiculed, and also the era of the corset. You’re not going to just be lifting that thing up and going for it, and nor is a lady going to able to feel much pressing against her belly in all that underwear and all those layers!
- English public school = private school!
- It’s a personal thing, but I HATE the term heart jumped into their throat (or variations of it) – it gives me a disgusting visual! And it’s used in this book a lot.
I think it’s important to support books like this one, historical romances that dare to do something a little different.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.