The Pelican Bride-Beth White
Genevieve Gallain is grateful to have left the dangers of 18th century France behind. Being a Huguenot, or Calvinist, was dangerous in the times of Louis XIV. However, she might be trading one danger for another. Genevieve and her sister have traveled on the ship Pelican to what would become Mobile, Alabama, to become mail-order brides. Tristian Lanier, an exiled cartographer, isn’t looking for a bride. But there’s something about Genevieve Gallain that attracts him to her. But will the secrets of Genevieve’s past threaten their happiness and the safety of the fort?
The Pelican Bride is one of the first books I’ve read about mail-order brides, but the issues touched on in this book go much deeper than that. Genevieve is a member of a denomination that was illegal in France. The British were attempting to take over France’s holdings in America. The book showed how the Native Americans were either wary of the French or firm allies. Some of the authority figures were corrupt. The story was a tangled web of loyalties, politics, religion, and love.
Brief history lesson: At that time, Louis XIV had revoked the Edict of Nantes, against the advice of the Pope. The Edict gave Protestants the freedom of worship and equal political rights with Catholics. Louis had seen the Protestants as a serious religious and political threat. They were ordered to become Catholic or leave France. Louis XIV wanted to be the Supreme Head of the Church in France, just like the King of England. Pope Innocent XI remained firm and Louis never dared take France into schism.
I was disappointed in Beth White’s handling of her Catholic characters. They were lukewarm believers in name only. Her writing style also left something to be desired. The dialogue and pacing seemed disjointed and ran on oddly. There were too many secrets between the characters and I couldn’t connect to any of them. I don’t think I would ever read The Pelican Bride again, even if the cover is very pretty.