Thursday, July 20, 2017

Review: Becky Lee Weyrich’s TAINTED LILIES – Old New Orleans and the Pirate Jean Laffite in the time of the War of 1812

This is a wonderful novel from a winner of the Romantic Time Lifetime Achievement Award. Set in New Orleans and environs beginning in 1811, this is the story of Nicolette Vernet, a beautiful Creole girl, who falls in love with Jean Laffite, the gentleman pirate. I thought it was very brave of Weyrich to choose a real person for her hero, but she did it well and the story is absorbing.

Nicolette dreamed of a handsome husband and a family of her own, but it seemed fate conspired against her. Her first betrothed was killed in a sword fight and, to avoid scandal, her father sent away to Paris to visit her Aunt Gabrielle. On her way home two years later, her ship is attacked by pirates. She is rescued by Jean Lafitte who assumes she was raped. And thus begins an adventure that takes Nikki on a very different course than she’d imagined for her life.

Weyrich writes well and the story will keep you turning pages. It’s obvious she has done much research into the enigmatic figure of the pirate Jean Laffite. Her other characters are richly drawn, too, including Aunt Gabi and Jean’s two older brothers. I loved the romance that developed between Nikki and Jean and hated the bad guy that her father wanted her to marry. (Weyrich does a good villain!) If I had any negatives it would be Nikki herself, who at times seemed weak, yet at other times was brave and defiant.

I love this description Nikki gave of Jean’s hair:

“I’ll always remember the texture of his hair, how wonderfully warm it feels against my palms, how fresh and clean it smells, like sea air and Spanish limes.”

A great story from old New Orleans in the time of the War of 1812. I recommend it.

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