Genre: Magical Realism | Pes: 232
Intro to the book by Jenny Jaeckel:
Orphaned and enslaved on a sugar plantation on the Caribbean island of Martinique, Abeje and her brother Adunbi survive by the kindness of fellow bondsmen and through their uncommon abilities-Adunbi with animals, and Abeje with healing plants.
Years later, when Adunbi's daughter Hetty is taken away to Canada, she gains her freedom and marries Dax Rougeaux, an ambitious mulâtre saddler, beginning the powerful Rougeaux family line. Among Hetty's children, grandchildren, and beyond, different family members take the spotlight and each must grapple with their own struggles-Guillaume Rougeaux's forbidden love, Eleanor's illegitimate child and her impossible dream in music, Rosalie's role in saving her brother from being drafted into the service to fight in Vietnam.
Spanning seven generations and traveling from Martinique to Montreal, New York, and Philadelphia, weaving magic and mystery with the hard truths of their times, the Rougeaux family comes alive on every page.
It's not often that I give a five star review to any book. But anything less than that wouldn't do justice to this wonderful peice of work. A well-writtern, well-formated and well-thoughtout book that had me mesmerised from the beginning. Just by looking at the cover, the format and font, the book gave a very feel-good vibe( although the narrative told a different story!).
From the beginning I knew I was reading something special, and within the first 50, I knew this was going to be one of my favorite books of 2021. Abeje and her brother Adunbi are fully-developed characters who feel as familiar yet different. Their struggles seem personal yet so unique and foreign . Their story is anything but simple, and you will root for them until the very last page. Jenny spreads their story with beautifully wrought and deeply considered musings on other characters, physics, history, betrayal and family flowing through 6 generations from the plantations of the Caribbean to current day USA.
This book has been extremely eye-opening with its storyline showing us of a childhood stolen by slavery through several generations whose effects are still in play and the horrowing truth of it all. This was a very difficult, though very worthwhile, book to read. Apart from the horros of life that comes face to face in this book, I truly appriciate Jenny's effort in putting forth a humongous concept called human spirit that we often loose sight of.
Seeing that these is Jenny's debut novel, I cant wait to see what else she brings to the table. I look forward to read more of her books!
About the author:
Jenny Jaeckel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and a Master of Arts in Hispanic Literatures from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Jaeckel grew up in Northern California. Currently, she lives in Victoria, British Columbia with her husband and child.
In 2016, Jaeckel’s graphic memoir Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU published, and it won the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the Parenting category. Spot 12 was also a 2016 finalist in the Foreword Indies Book Awards. Her previous titles include For the Love of Meat: Nine Illustrated Stories and Siberiak: My Cold War Adventure on the River Ob. House of Rougeaux is Jaeckel’s debut novel