This is my first June blog post, and I am always surprised at how fast time flies. I often don't know what I am getting into when I sign up to read a book, and The Creole Princess is just such an example. Lyse Lanier lives on the Gulf coast of West Florida, in what is now known as Mobile, Alabama. At the time, it was under Spain's rule and Spain was getting ready to enter into the Revolutionary War. This was not something I learned in school at all, but to be honest, I only learned history long enough to pass the tests, and then promptly forgot it--I wasn't the best student around.
In this book by Beth White, I learned some things. The British weren't always as nice as they seemed, Spain had a significant toe-hold in the North American continent, and love can be found in the unlikeliest places.
Lyse met Rafa on the docks while waiting for Simon to return from fishing. Rafa is enchanted with Lyse and does whatever he has to do to make her acquaintance, and then makes it a point to see Lyse every time he comes to Mobile. What Lyse doesn't know is that she is giving him valuable information that he takes back to New Orleans and helps the Spanish governor there. She finds herself more and more entranced with Rafa and missing him more than ever when he is gone.
The next time she sees Rafa after her father is arrested for treason against Britain, he takes her to New Orleans to live with his mother and sister--but she's not as welcome as it would seem. When Rafa is away, his mother finds a way to ask her to leave her home and Lyse has to find work washing the clothes of the army garrisoned in New Orleans.
There are many characters and subplots in this book that come together to create a rich tapestry. The main characters are well developed and incredibly likable. Some of the minor ones only add to the depth of the story. The historical facts interwoven into the novel are fascinating and shows that Beth has done her research well. Lyse's ancestry makes her an exotic looking woman with an undesirable background. Because of who her mother was, she could have been a slave, and in fact, her cousin was a slave to a vindictive bat of a woman. The portrayals were spot on for the times. It is to my own shame that I do not know more about the Spanish influence in this geographic area and in this historic era. I think now I will learn more.
Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a fish fry.
My thanks to Revell Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book.