My rating: 4 of 5 stars
4 family saga stars to House of Rougeaux! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
When I read the synopsis of House of Rougeaux, I knew I had to put it on my shelf. A multigenerational family saga beginning in Martinique up through present-day Canada? I was all in!
Abeje and Adunbi, sister and brother, open the story living and working as slaves on a Caribbean sugar plantation. Later on, after emancipation, Adunbi’s daughter, Hetty, finds her way to Quebec City and lives free. What follows is a family saga with multiple layers of narrative of Rougeaux family successes and injustices experienced.
I absolutely adored the easy flowing writing style, the beautifully drawn settings, the well-developed characters, the messages in the writing, and the ambition it took to undertake such a layered story.
For the first half of the book, it was challenging for me to keep the family members straight, and I referenced the family tree frequently. Eventually, I began to feel the voice of “the family,” and I was not as concerned about exactly who was speaking. I had to relax into the writing. I also found the timeline to be challenging to follow at times because, even as a fervent historical fiction fan who happens to love multiple timelines, this one jumped around.
Overall, I was drawn deeply into the Rougeaux family’s story and its rich characters, and I found it to be a story of hope and healing across generations. I look forward to reading the sequel to this book!
Thank you to Jenny Jaeckel, Raincloud Press, and Netgalley for the ARC. House of Rougeaux is available now!
My reviews can also be found on my shiny new blog! www.jennifertarheelreader.com
For Abeje and her brother Adunbi, home is the slave quarters of a Caribbean sugar plantation on the Antilles Island of Martinique. Under the watchful eye of their African mother, the children thrive despite what threatens to break them. After a night of brutality changes their lives forever, it is their strength and extraordinary bond that carries them through.
At the dawn of emancipation, Adunbi’s daughter Hetty finds her way to Quebec City as maid to the slave owner’s daughters. There she discovers a talent for piano and meets a bold saddler’s apprentice named Dax Rougeaux. After buying her freedom, Dax and Hetty join a growing community of Afro-Canadians living free.
In moving prose, author Jenny Jaeckel creates a brilliantly imagined epic, weaving a multi-layered narrative that celebrates the Rougeaux family truimphs while exposing the injustices of their trials. As each new member of the family takes the spotlight, a fresh piece of the puzzle is illuminated until at last, after a span of nearly two centuries, the end brings us back to the beginning.
In her debut novel, award-winning author Jenny Jaeckel masterfully blends coming-of-age, folklore, and historical fiction with explorations of gender, race, and sexuality, creating a wondrous tale of hope and healing. A relevant work of love, determination, and the many small achievements that make up greatness, House of Rougeaux draws a new map of what it means to be family.