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The Cards Don't Lie by Sue Ingalls Finan: A Book Review

The Cards Don't Lie
Author: Sue Ingalls Finan
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: She Writes Press
Release Date: October 9, 2018
Pages: 340
Source: This book was given to me by the publicist in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: 1814: It’s the third year of the United States second War of Independence. The British are on the verge of capturing the strategically important port of New Orleans. In the midst of the Americans’ chaotic preparations for battle, three women play key roles in the defense of the city: Catherine, a free woman of color, voodoo priestess, and noted healer personally summoned by General Andrew Jackson; Marguerite, a pampered Creole plantation mistress prone to out-of-body experiences; and Millie, a plucky, patriotic prostitute inspired by her pirate lover to serve in the most dangerous capacity of all. These three women’s lives and fates become intertwined as they join forces to defend their country. 

    Inspired by the contributions of real-life women during the Battle of New Orleans, The Cards Don’t Lie is a story of love, rebellion, intimacy, betrayal, and heroism in the face of terror and barbaric brutality.

     My Review: The Battle of New Orleans is one of the best-known battles in United States history. The Cards Don’t Lie follows the lives of three very different women as they live their lives in preparation for, and during, the notorious battle. The book is written in several short chapters. Some are very short, only a page or two long. Others are a little longer, but rarely more than six or seven pages. Each chapter is titled with a tarot card, for instance the King of Wands. Underneath is a revelation that is the theme for the chapter. 

     The book introduces us to Marguerite, the wife of a wealthy, but distant Creole plantation owner. Catherine Caresse, a free woman of color who makes her living as a healer and midwife for other freed slaves. She also knows a bit of magic that she is reluctant to use, but sometimes does to get what she wants. We meet Peter Sidney, an Englishman who, through a series of events, ends up a pirate in the city. Also, Millie, a young prostitute who longs to escape the life of a “wharf girl” and live a more normal life. These lives eventually intersect when the invincible British Navy threatens all they hold dear.

     I liked all three of the main characters very much. At first, Marguerite seemed to be a milquetoast. She was spoiled and pouted about her husband. All she wanted was to give her husband a son. Later, though, she showed her real strength when rallying the women to support the war effort. Catherine was interesting. You could see her intelligence in healing. She also had a few darker talents that she used to advance the fortunes of her and her daughter, Suzanne. Millie, though, was my favorite. She showed a lot of spunk and spark. Her love affair with Peter seemed real and sweet. 

     Overall, this book was about courage, sacrifice, hope, and love. The setting was very authentic and meticulously researched! New Orleans came to life in the pages. There was also the interesting link between Catholicism and some of its African followers also celebrating their voodoo religion. The author had to have described a few real spells from her research, as there are a few, especially the one Catherine uses to catch her husband, that could hardly be imagined! The male characters are also strong, such as Peter and Andrew Jackson. This book is perfect for anyone interested in the battle itself or is interested in a one-of-a-kind city that because of its citizens from multiple heritages is as unique as the people itself.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars 



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