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About My Family
I had never read anything by Clare Clark, I picked this book up at the library last week. I started to read and found out that it was about the Casket Girls that came over on the Pelican. I read with great interest because I am a decedent as many say that are from this area. It was a very good story I could visualize the area at that time. My family settled in South Mississippi early in the 1700's and many decedents remain there still.
Historical Fiction- unfinished main characters
Not until the end of the book and in the authors notes did I see what I was looking for.. She said that she used two of the women from the Pelican as her character Elizabeth. One of them the spelling is actually Gebrielle Savary not Gabrielle Savaret, this woman was my ancestor, she married Jean Baptist Saucier from Quebec in Mobile in 1704, she was the great grandmother to Mary Louise Saucier who married Ramon Lizana who was the first Lizana in the Gulf Coast Area, I am seventh generation from him.
My dad's family the Lizana's were some of the first residents of the Delisle Mississippi area. I love to learn about our history. I have a cousin who did a wonderful family tree for us and it details back to the marriage of Ramon Lizana and Marie Louise Saucier I happened upon he details of Gebrielle myself.
This book is very well written. The details of the Native Americans are wonderful.
I expected much more from Savage Lands. There were gaps in the stories behind the main characters, Elisabeth, Auguste and Jean Claude. Elisabeth comes to America as a young bride-to-be for a man she has never met to "populate the colonies. The story centers around Mobile and New Orleans and the very difficult world women like Elisabeth had to adapt to. The rich dialogue was overshadowed by the lack of detail with time and place.
Linda Z. (Corydon, IN)
Savage Lands by Clare Clark
I was very interested in this book as this time period focusing on strong women who survived diseases, lack of food, trauma of childbirth and isolation portended a great read. Unfortunately Savage Lands did not live up to expectations.
As a history major, I really enjoy historical novels and this one was a winner. I learned what a "casket girl" was and a lot about the French settling of Mobile and New Orleans. I have found myself wanting to learn more about this period using the Internet and my local library. Names like Iberville, Bienville and John Law and even Massacre Island have whetted my appetite for more information. Maybe that is one reason why I enjoy historical novels along with a good story which this delivered.
Judith M. (San Diego, CA)
Savage Lands started slowly with overwrought descriptive passages. However, I was sufficiently interested in the subject to continue reading and was subsequently totally engrossed. Part One builds momentum to a dramatic ending. Even though I didn't quite understand the motivation behind Jean-Claude's betrayal, I never-the-less was satisfied with the conclusion.
Ocia B. (Nevada, TX)
Filles à la cassette
Part Two was a much different read. It was difficult to understand the inferences as the story seemed to drift, and I found that I no longer cared about the characters.
As for the historical aspect, I would have liked to have the historical pages at the beginning, so as to be better informed along the way.
Being from southeast Louisiana, I anticipated reading a novel wrapped in the rich history of the casket girls. I did not really enjoy the book. It was hard to get into and some of the descriptive paragraphs were a bit much.
Hilary H. (Tucson, AZ)
I was initially intrigued by the subject matter since I knew nothing about the "casket girls" but it took awhile for me to get into the book. There are interesting historical descriptions that create a vivid background for the story but the story itself seemed slow for the first half though it did speed up later on. The reader does feel for the women in the book as they truly had to put up with very difficult times. There were many parallel stories that were alluded to but were just on the periphery. I think the book could have been a much larger one with more intertwined stories, and more characters about whom I cared more deeply. I really wanted to see the map that will be in the published edition as I'm familiar with the area. Not a great read but not awful either.
Maggie P. (Redmond, WA)
I loved the authors use of adjectives to really give you a clear picture of the the surroundings and the characters feelings. I enjoyed the historical facts, but I felt let down. I had a hard time wanting to continue reading the book. By the middle and into the end of the book, I didn't have a strong connection to the characters. It is a good book for the historical information, just wish I'd felt more for the characters.
Deanna W. (Port Jefferson, NY)
Not So Gripping
I enjoy historic fiction and like to learn information about a specific
time period. However, this story was too heavy on historic detail and not enough on character. This book is based on the true story
of the first French settlers in America and the women sent to be their wives. There are three protagonists : Elisabeth, Auguste,and
Jean-Claude. Had I cared enough about any of them I might have finished this book.