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Torn between loyalties to family and flag, one young woman is about to discover that her most important allegiance is to her heart.

Pelican Bride by Beth White

The Creole Princess is the second book in Beth White’s Gulf Coast Chronicles series. It opens in the historic year of 1776, when the colonies are on the brink of revolution, and spans almost four years. 

Lyse Lanier is the great granddaughter of the heroine in the first book of the series, The Pelican Bride (review here). She’s the daughter of a freed mulatto slave and a drunkard fisherman. Lyse dreams of a Cinderella future, complete with a prince who rescues her from her circumstances. That prince arrives in the form of a Spaniard from New Orleans, Rafael Maria Gonzales de Rippardá. 

Rafa is not the man he claims to be (no spoiler). Like Sir Percy Blakeney from The Scarlet Pimpernel, his perceived character as a shallow, charming rascal hides a secret purpose. It also covers the hurt of knowing that, because he isn’t a soldier like the elder Rippardá or his older brothers, he disappoints his father. 

The story is rife with political as well as romantic intrigue. Like sharks swimming the coastal waters, the Spanish wait for the opportunity to snatch Mobile from the British who hope to hold tight to all of their American territories. Spies, soldiers, loyalists, and patriots provide the political conflict. Disappointment, vengeance, irresponsibility, and prejudice provide the romantic/emotional conflict. 

My only problem with the book stems from the amount of territory it covers in 329 pages. Lyse is a sympathetic heroine and Rafa is adorable, but I think the various issues involved kept their story from being as deep and emotional as I desired. I would have preferred to focus on the effect the events had on them rather than how the issues affected various secondary characters, but that’s just my take. 

Despite that, this novel is a definite recommended read for the well-thought-out characters and the history involved.

When I think Revolutionary War era, I’m generally thinking the east coast into New England, not the gulf, so this was a freshing setting. When you think that era, what/where is your favorite setting? 

Disclosure of Material Connection: This book came to me free from the publisher, Revell Publishing, with the hope that I would mention it on this blog. There was no requirement for me to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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