Cover Image: House of Rougeaux

House of Rougeaux

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Member Reviews

I well written story of a family saga on a plantation. It spans generations and gives a real sense of place and class. Perfect for people who enjoy this genre.
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I wanted to like this I mean I really tried to. It's a multi-generational saga taking place from the late 1700's to the 1900's. The book jumped around from generation to generation and the information was just thrown at you. There was no connecting with the characters and no main characters add to that there were too many characters that I could not keep track of.
Pub Date 24 Apr 2018 
I received a complimentary cop of this book from Raincloud Press through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.
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3.5 stars rounded up.
I love family sagas, spanning years, even centuries, following characters and their descendants. In this novel, I followed this family from their roots as slaves from the island of Martinique in 1785, to Philadelphia in the 1940’s and 1960’s to Montreal in the 1880’s and 1920’s and also New York City. The part of the book that I liked the best was the first quarter of it, introducing us to Abeji and her brother Adundi and their mother Iya. Healing, spirits, seeing - the  magical realism seems to fit the time and place in on Martinique 1785-1860. I found the writing in the early time period to be lyrical, more descriptive and the tone more atmospheric than the rest of the novel. I was captivated and couldn’t wait to find out the fate of family moving forward in time.

 I enjoyed meeting Nelie in 1949 and Rosalie in 1964 in Philadelphia, Martine and Hetty and Guillaume in 1925 , 1853 and 1883 Montreal. Their stories of how racism impacted them and the things in life that happen -  pregnancy out of marriage and homosexuality in times when they were so unacceptable, race riots, draft evasion, death - were moving. The narratives moved around over the years, across a century but not in chronological order. The family tree at the beginning was helpful, but keeping track of all of the characters and how they were related was difficult at times. This format didn’t quite work for me and that’s why I can’t give it a solid four stars. I could manage two maybe three time frames narrated out of order but seven  felt like too many to me. It distracted me and the story lost momentum for me. I have to round it up to four stars, though, because the writing was lovely and the characters appealing. The incorporation of the magical realism was also easily accepted in the context of the story. 

I received an advanced copy of this book from Raincloud Press through NetGalley.
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4 family saga stars to House of Rougeaux! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

When I read the synopsis of House of Rougeaux, I knew I had to put it on my shelf. A multigenerational family saga beginning in Martinique up through present-day Canada? I was all in! 

Abeje and Adunbi, sister and brother, open the story living and working as slaves on a Caribbean sugar plantation. Later on, after emancipation, Adunbi’s daughter, Hetty, finds her way to Quebec City and lives free. What follows is a family saga with multiple layers of narrative of Rougeaux family successes and injustices experienced. 

I absolutely adored the easy flowing writing style, the beautifully drawn settings, the well-developed characters, the messages in the writing, and the ambition it took to undertake such a layered story. 

For the first half of the book, it was challenging for me to keep the family members straight, and I referenced the family tree frequently. Eventually, I began to feel the voice of “the family,” and I was not as concerned about exactly who was speaking. I had to relax into the writing. I also found the timeline to be challenging to follow at times because, even as a fervent historical fiction fan who happens to love multiple timelines, this one jumped around. 

Overall, I was drawn deeply into the Rougeaux family’s story and its rich characters, and I found it to be a story of hope and healing across generations. I look forward to reading the sequel to this book! 

Thank you to Jenny Jaeckel, Raincloud Press, and Netgalley for the ARC. House of Rougeaux is available now! 

My reviews can also be found on my shiny new blog!
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We spend around the first quarter of the book with Abeje between 1785-1860. Then we jump to 1949 Philadelphia, then back to 1925 Montreal and then even further back to 1853 Montreal.

At this point – about halfway through the book – I was feeling a little lost, trying to follow the threads of the characters and remember who was who and where they fit into the family tree.

Then a realisation hit me – House of Rougeaux doesn’t really follow characters. It follows the gift of healing and second sight as it’s passed down through the generations and inhabits Abeje’s descendants around the world.

More darkly, it soon becomes quite clear that the narrative also traces the effects of oppression throughout the generations. First the brutal lives – and deaths – of slaves on the Island of Martinique in the early 20th century. Then racial and gender discrimination, once Abeje’s descendants make their way to Canada, then America and finally, Europe. Gay men, single mothers and black and/or female musicians.

The horror of circumstance is, in a lot of ways, secondary to the importance of spirituality and family and friends supporting each other.

Though not an easy read, the language and imagery used is gorgeous. I still get shivers thinking of the scene where the new overseer sets a pack of dogs onto Abeje with the order to ‘Kill!’. She stands, stock-still, and summons the spirits to her. The dogs reach her and behave as though she has become invisible. The spirits have saved her life.

This event, combined with Abeje’s soon-famous healing abilities, ensure her survival where many other slaves are either callously murdered or negligently left to starve or die from overwork in the fields.
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Well, halfway through the book and I couldn't care the least about any of the characters. And that I learned to just give up on books which don't work for me. And sadly, this is one of them.
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Thank you to Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review "House of Rougeaux
by Jenny Jaeckel" While the plot and book description sounded really good, I could not get into it. I read a few chapters and found myself becoming uninterested.  A perfect read, just not for me.
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I love saga fiction, and have a few epic family sagas on my list of favorite books. I was predisposed to like House of Rougeaux and did, for the most part. 

This book follows the lives of two orphans on a Caribbean sugar plantation and how their (and their descendants) lives unfold. The story did not arrest me, nor keep me up late into the night, which is how I judge the level to which a book is able to draw me in. Still, it's a intriguing tale and one I enjoyed.

There were too many characters to read this book comfortably on Kindle - I'd have preferred to read the physical copy so that referencing the family tree was easier.
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A mostly interesting story about a family's history. It just didn't really click with me. I definitely wanted to like it more than I did.
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I was not able to finish reading this title as my pdf version was missing entire passages.  Sentences were cut off midstream.  If sent a complete copy of the book I would love to read it.  At this time I am forced to give this book a 1 star rating as Net Galley will not allow reviewers to leave this area blank.
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There's always a reason why I pick a book, with very few exceptions. The reason for my picking this book goes against the saying, "Never judge a book by its cover." [Of course, the occasional turnarounds are obviously there.] But I liked what I saw on the cover and the blurb. So I requested a copy, not really thinking I'd actually be able to read it.

But now, I'm thankful I read it.

"House of Rougeaux" puts down a heaviness in the chest that doesn't leave you throughout the entirety of the story. A couple of nights, I've stayed up reading this, fighting this heaviness, almost in tears. Such is the effect the book has had on me!

Love, love, love it!
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I love reading books that revolve around a family's history and when I saw this on NetGalley, I had to read it. I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review and I'd simply say that this book is interesting. There are layers and struggles that sustain the Rougeaux family name and it all starts on a plantation in 1785, where Abeje and Adunbi are ophaned and they find themselves facing and overcoming challenges to keep their traditions alive.
If you love mysticism or anything that involves supernatural healing, this is right up your alley.
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This story is a family saga, beginning in Martinique in 1785.  Beginning with Abeje and Adunbi, a brother and sister, slaves we find on a sugar plantation.   It is through them that the family history starts.  Down through the generations healing and the supernatural play an important role in this novel.  Through Abeje the other women in the Rougeaux family line have the ability to use psychic or spiritual means to heal those in the family who are either sick or troubled.  There are many elements to this story, symbols in nature's world, music is another theme that runs through the story.  Of course, without a doubt there are family struggles, personal conflict, loss and survival as well as violence and racism.  Going back and forth between the generations, we watch as the family grows and observe the different stages of their lives.  

Well written, the mysticism and spiritual worlds come together in an almost lyrical way.  Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this novel in an exchange for an honest review.

#Rougeaux #NetGalley
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