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Fiery Passion in the Big Easy - an Editorial Review of "Bayou Fire"

Book Blurb:

Diana Corbett’s childhood was plagued by unceasing dreams of smoke and flames. The nightmares went away, until the noted travel writer’s first night on assignment in Louisiana … when they returned with a vengeance. Could the handsome Cajun, Amos Boudreaux, be the key to unlocking the secret of BAYOU FIRE? Award-winning author Sharon E. Cathcart presents her first full-length historical paranormal tale, set against the backdrops of modern-day and 1830s New Orleans.

Author Bio:

Award-winning author Sharon E. Cathcart (she/her) writes historical fiction with a twist!

A former journalist and newspaper editor, Sharon has been writing for as long as she can remember and always has at least one work in progress.

Sharon is a member of the Archaeological Institute of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Historical Novel Society.

Sharon lives in the Silicon Valley, California, with her very patient husband and several rescue cats.

Editorial Review:

I'm looking to give my readers a picture of the authentic New Orleans experience,” she concluded.

In a very succinct and compact novel full of deja-vu and past lives, this historical romance entwines two romances, one set in modern day after Hurricane Katrina and the other set in the 1800s deep in the Cajun and Creole country of New Orleans.

During the drive to Lafayette, Amos found himself chattering a lot more than usual once they were out of range of his favorite radio station, WWOZ. He started out by talking about the history of the region, and about the Acadian dérangement that drove his ancestors out of Nova Scotia. Soon, talk turned more personal.

Diana Corbett, a travel blogger who has traveled to far off exotic places colors her hair red and embarks on her next journey to the heart of Louisiana at the mouth of the delta – New Orleans, and immerses herself into the lives and culture of the French Quarter, Gumbo, and Jazz. She finds herself magnetized quite suddenly to a handsome Cajun man named Amos Boudreaux. Amos, in quick order, invites her to join him as he shows her some of the area, and eventually to his parent's home deep in the bayou. But there is something more mysterious at work here, a profound deja-vu, as Diana has suffered for years with a nightmare of trying to escape a deadly fire. When she hears of Amos's middle name, Alcide, the memories of her dreams flood back to her, and one night as she is dreaming, Miss Julie, an elderly waitress at the Bayou Cafe, touches her arm and is able to recount the entire dream... which turns out to not be a dream at all, but a remembrance of a past life, that of Evangeline DuPre and Alcide Devareaux.

I am only doing my best, in an undoubtedly imperfect way, to make my mark in the world. It is all any of us can do. One day, you will find your own best way to make your mark, and I believe with all of my heart that it will be as beautiful and amazing as you are yourself.”

Evangeline is a young girl on the verge of womanhood, and is sent to Paris to finish her studies, as well as become a lady who will attract the right sort of man her father wishes for her, an affluent man with strong ties to the plantations of the South and the way of life. While Evangeline is in Paris, however, she learns more about independence and the horrors of slavery from some of the intellectual boys she meets from the Sorbonne – the revolutionaries who will try to stage an uprising against the King. When she returns to Louisiana and enters society, her new ideas match well with the man she has had her sights on since she was eight-years-old – Alcide Devareaux. Alcide is, himself, a staunch believer in the abolitionist movement and works in secret with the Underground Railroad. A natural attraction ensues, and before long they are engaged to be married... that is, until a rival for Alcide's attention thinks to thwart the relationship. This jealous rival finds a way to sully Evangeline's reputation and in doing so, a fire breaks out at the rival's estate, the LaLaurie House (which is actually recorded in history). To find out the outcome, one must read the story as there are no spoilers here!

Back in the modern time, Diana comes to understand her profound connection to Amos Boudreaux, and the heated love story between the two comes to a final and satisfying conclusion in true historical romance-style.

The part of him that imagined Diana's life to be one of constant glamour and excitement was silenced by the reality that she was very much alone in the world. In fact, now that he thought about it, none of the articles he'd read that first night showed Diana in any of the photographs. At no point did she seem to be a part of the fun, or to have any friends enjoying the experiences with her. She shared everything with her readers, he realized, because she didn't have anyone else to share it with herself. It was quite a revelation.

The overall storyline is very enjoyable, and the clever usage of Diana's blog entries at the beginning of the modern-day chapters is done very well. For the most part, since this is very much a romance novel with elements of history embedded, the rapidness of the romance and the heated encounters take precedence especially in the modern-day sections of the novel. When the reader slips back in time, history takes the stage and the reader might even find more character development and in-depth story immersion in the past rather than the present. However, this does not detract from the narrative, but adds to the intrigue of Amos and Diana's connection. The author uses the interesting and uncanny abilities of Miss Julie to bring to life the dreams that have always haunted Diana, which again, plays well into the notorious spiritualistic atmosphere of New Orleans. Not only that, but the elements that the author uses of the Cajun culture, weaving into the narrative some of the family traditions and customs play nicely in giving the story line the ambiance needed in this setting. All in all, this is a nice read on your next trip to the Big Easy, or even while sitting on a beach sipping a mimosa or mint julep.


“Bayou Fire” by Sharon E. Cathcart receives four stars from The Historical Fiction Company


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