Island of the Red Mangroves (Caribbean Islands Saga #2) by Sarah Lark ~Goodreads~
Published by Bastei Entertainment 2015
Kindle edition 492 pages ~Amazon~
Jamaica, 1753: Deirdre, daughter of Englishwoman, Nora Fortnam and slave Akwasi, lives a sheltered life on her family’s plantation. Her stepfather, Doug, has welcomed her into his life as his own. Despite Deirdre’s scandalous origin, the men of the island flock to the young beauty, but she shows no interest. That is, until she is charmed by young doctor Victor Dufresne, who asks for her hand in marriage.
After their lavish wedding ceremony, Victor and Deirdre embark to Saint-Domingue on the island of Hispaniola, where Deirdre can live without the burden of her mixed background. But what happens there changes everything…
Having not read the first book in the Caribbean Islands Saga I was at first apprehensive about reading this second installment, I’m not used to just skipping a book but from reading the synopsis and the assurance from Hayley at ED (Emma Draude) Public Relations that I didn’t need to read the first book to understand what was going on in this story- so without further ado I begun reading!
Starting out I found the book to be a little slow paced for my liking, but once it built up within a few chapters I was so sucked into the book that I couldn’t put it down. I love reading historical fiction books, where they’re from a different era’s and placed in a different part of the world to where I live, and particularly with the themes in this book of race and acceptance it really had me glued to its pages.
Our heroine in this book is Deirdre Fortnam, who lives in Jamaica and is approaching her 18th birthday. Her parents eager to match Deirdre with a suitor, she then meets Victor Dufresne a doctor from a well off family from Hispaniola (now known as Haiti).
Despite both of these families hitting it off and having a common ground of being wealthy, they have very contrasting ways. With Deirdre’s parents having freed all of the slaves in their ownership and given them documents of Manumission, they work for the family out of choice. Whereas in Victor’s household they frown upon the freedom of slave and regard blacks as having no rights. So already we have a major theme within the book that’s fascinating to read about, especially with different voices of opinion.
Another character of importance in this novel was Francois Macandal, the leader of Hispaniola Maroons- a group of escaped slaves and free blacks who worked to infiltrate the plantations and to overcome slavery. In the afterword of this book the author tells the history of the islands and the importance of Francois Macandal, he was historically known as a “God” like spirit of Hispaniola and after carrying out plantation raids and massacring a large amount of white families, he was burnt alive at the stake.
Not only is the writing brilliant in this novel and the love story sweet, but this book was also a fascinating history book that I’m eager to read more of. Reading the afterword definitely enlightened me as to the history of the Caribbean Islands, a topic I have never been confronted with. It felt like a breath of fresh air, learning something new and appreciating that there was some historical truth to the story too.
This book is worth of a four star rating and a massive thank you to Hayley at ED Public Relations, for giving me such a well suited book of my taste! Not only that but it’s been a pleasure to be part of this blog tour, I’m definitely keen on reading more from Sarah Lark.