Thursday, April 21, 2016
New Review: Karen Jones Delk’s EMERALD QUEEN – Two Men in Love With the Same Woman… and Steamboats in New Orleans!
First published in 1992, this is the story of Simone Devereaux, from one of the Creole families. It begins in New Orleans in 1831 when her father dies in a duel with a man named Marcel Baudin, who demanded Simone become his mistress in payment of her father’s debts. Having lost her father, Simone disguises herself as a boy and gets a job at the fencing club where Baudin and all the young bucks hang out, vowing to have her revenge.
Marcel searches for her, determined to have her, but she has a protector, the man her father asked to be her guardian, Alain de Valliere. Alain, a known womanizer, recognizes her and takes her from the fencing club, intending to keep her safe. Very quickly (too quickly, I thought), he declares his love for her. And she for him. But then something happens to Alain and he disappears.
Once Simone finds herself on the run from Baudin, she finds refuge with Tom Franklin, a very likeable American steamboat captain, who has great plans to build a steamboat empire. She offers him a partnership and he accepts so that she runs the gambling saloon on the Emerald Queen.
The first thing I noticed about this story is that the author head hops unmercifully from one character’s thoughts to another. At other times, she drops as the omniscient narrator to tell us what someone is thinking. I would have preferred one point of view at a time.
This is a long book (448 pages) and reflects much research into the New Orleans society of the day and the culture of the Creoles. The author provides vivid descriptions of the places and serves up some wonderful characters, though the villain, Baudin, was a bit over the top. With all its twists and meanderings, the story held my attention.
It’s a saga of one woman’s life who was loved, it seemed, by all the men who met her.
Buy on Amazon.