Gaffrey, Arlette. “ A World of its Own: In the Land of the Creoles”, Outskirts Press, 2007.
New Orleans, circa 1812
Originally being from New Orleans, I do not tire of reading about it and I must say from the very get-go that Arlette Gaffrey is a talented writer. She has a storyline that is interesting from the first page. It is a big story of love, marriage and betrayal that sits against the backdrop of the magical Big Easy.
Andre de Javon escaped France and the revolution as a child and as an adult arrives in New Orleans so that he can start a new life. He eventually becomes wealthy and the owner of the richest plantation in the area. His mentor, Jean- Claude Charlevoix hopes to become his father-in-law when Andre marries his daughter Julie Marie when she comes of age but Andre marries Gabrielle Ste. Claire and his life becomes a horror. When Gabrielle dies, Andre is left with her illegitimate son. Andre at the same rime begins to realize just how much he loves Julie Marie but it is not sure that she will have him. He is eleven years older than her and has the bastard child to boot.
Gaffrey has managed to capture the color and the charm as well as the heart of New Orleans in her book and the setting becomes on of the major characters in the novel. She explores the culture and customs of the city and presents with historical accuracy the details of plantation life. Gaffrey really shines with her descriptions of the clothing and hair styles as well as the fabrics and the jewelry. Gaffrey easily explains the French and Spanish Creole culture and her love story exudes romance.
The elements of a good novel are all here and the romance and historical background of 19th century New Orleans provides rich fodder for a good read.