Cover Image: Belle Haven

Belle Haven

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Member Reviews

The cover picture was what attracted me to request an Arc for this book and even the blurb sounded interesting. I might be in the minority here but I thought that this book was just okay. This was supposed to be a love story but the misconception and miscommunication between Venice and Etienne was so great that it got a bit too much. I ended up skimming some of the later chapters in the book to see if these two did manage to come together in the end.

My thanks to NetGalley, the publisher Vintage South Books and the author Jaye Burke for the e-Arc. I read the book in April but got delayed in sharing my thoughts.

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Thank you for giving me a chance to read this lovely story! I haven't read many books about New Orleans and it's lovely, European history. The characters were rich, and the timely details were on point. I adored the back and forth, and the bits of french. This was a lovely read, and I look forward to other books by this author.

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A dual timeline story set in 1916 and 1991. The background is New Orleans, a perfect city for a romantic story such as this. Enjoyable from beginning to end. My thanks to NetGalley for tis ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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A wonderfully uplifting read… A lot of sparkle and mischief… The characters are fabulous… A very relaxing read!

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What can I say but I loved this book from start to finish. It's one that you will read again and again. The characters were genuinely a wonderful mix. The friendships were so strong you just felt them Bravo on a great story.

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This book was completely unexpected! It kept taking twists and turns and there were a couple of times that I thought “man, I wouldn’t normally pick this up but I’m really glad I did!”

A dual timeline from the main character, Venice, between 1916 and 1997. Venice, while reminiscing on her younger years in New Orleans and the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain, recounts her memories of a shy young woman who was timid to break free of her mother’s hold over her. What makes Venice such a lovable character is her sweet nature. Not only towards her father, but towards her entire environment.

Venice is often found in the courtyard of her family’s estate in New Orleans on Pyrtania Street – listening to the birds chirping, the water flowing from the fountain, and admiring the mandevilla flowers she potted. There were times that I felt like I could have been sitting with her, in her family’s courtyard in New Orleans. I love it when an author uses nature to connect you to characters! Not only did you feel connected to the nature, but the Cajun food also makes a heavy appearance in multiple scenes. Let me tell you, I’ll be craving crawfish etoufee for weeks now!

In Venice’s younger years, she visited her family’s summer home on the Northshore of Lake Ponchartrain, which she named Belle Haven, as often as she could. While visiting Belle Haven with her best friend Emilie, she girls snuck away to meet some boys. Venice instantly fell in love with Etienne, and we fell in love with him alongside her.

As war broke out, and the United States was pulled toward the Western Front in France, Etienne has to fulfill his duty. Though, Etienne was injured while fighting in World War I. After his injuries he was worried that Venice would dub him a “lesser man” and he struggled with his mental health and vanity to return home to his beloved Venice.

Through multiple twists and turns through this story, you will catch yourself wondering what you would do if you were in Venice or Etienne’s shoes. How would you combat such dark and negative thoughts? Only those who lived through a World War and had the war end with a rampant Spanish Flu pandemic can account how they made it through.

My only gripe with this story is that I wish the characters and their decisions were a little more developed out. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed that this was a shorter and quicker read, but I would have loved to dive into the minds of Venice and Etienne more. And, to hear more about their connection to place, food, music, and friends.

I received this book from the publisher, via an eARC through NetGalley.

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I really enjoyed this story - read it in one sitting because I had to see how it was going to end!

Venice Arial is part of Baton Rouge's high society - with a big wedding planned to a weathly suitor, when she takes a trip to her family summer home and meets a local boy name Etienne Armand.

It's love at first sight and they fight to stay together, but then war comes and things change. This part of the story is heartbreaking and hopeful. The characters are so engaging and the descriptions are vivid. Lots of twists in the story make you want to keep reading to see where it's heading. The story is told in two parts - as it's happening with Venice narrating and also current day as she's telling the story to her granddaughter to keep for their family history.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for a temporary, digital ARC in return for my review. I really enjoyed this one!

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This book was pretty good. I liked the characters, story line and setting. I didn't like the "sensual " parts but that is a personal preference. Overall, a good book.

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This is a dual timeline novel that alternates between 1916 and 1991.the main character is 95 years old in 1991, looking back on her life, wanting to share her experiences and memories with her granddaughter before they are lost to time.
Venice’s story is an emotional rollercoaster ride. Starting on the pier at Pontchartrain Lake, Venice’s family’s summer home, with her meeting Etienne, a poor local boy with big dreams.
Venice’s story will pierce a reader’s heart, it’s sad and sweet, touching on subjects such as social disparity, war,loyalty, a father’s love, a mother’s indifference and the everlasting power of love. It runs the gamut of emotions, ups, downs, twists and turns along with descriptive passages of New Zorleans, Marduk grad, the fashions and social trends of the times.
I enjoyed this story and recommend it to historical fiction fans.
Thank you to Vintage South Books and Net Galley for the free ARC, I am leaving my honest review in return.

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Belle Haven by Jaye Burke was a love story of Venice and Entienne Armand. I can never understand why people resort to doing things against the law to have their own happiness at the cost of others happiness. Belle Haven was a lovely house on the shores of Lake Ponchartrain in New Orleans. A perfect place for a love story.

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Belle Haven by Jaye Burke is a beautiful love story. While we celebrate the love of Venice and Etienne, we also suffer through their struggles. Throughout the novel, we meet many characters. Many of them, including Venice’s father, care greatly for her. Others, like her mother, care only about status and the perks of the rich. Each of these characters are very well developed, and we learn what in their pasts causes them to be the way they are. Venice shows the reader the real meaning of love, and Etienne the trouble ego and lack of faith in love ones can have. Enjoyable and heart felt novel.

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A Historical fiction novel that should satisfy the reader who likes this type of story with some romance added to it. Set In New Orleans before the beginning of WWI, two young people from different backgrounds meet and fall in love. Separated by war and some devious people, the two are eventually reunited for a satisfying ending. A quick read with some wonderful descriptions of New Oreland and surrounding areas.

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Venice Arial lives in New Orleans with her parents, her father Jean-Pierre is a banker and her mother Lorraine is a socialite. Mrs. Arial is extremely controlling, she’s picked out a suitable man for Venice to marry, and she’s busy planning the engagement party and wedding. Venice needs a break from her mother and her wedding plans, the family own a lovely summer house and it’s built by the shores of Pontchartrain Lake. Venice escapes Louisiana, she takes her friend Emilie with her and they stay at Belle Haven.

Here she meets local man Etienne Armand, he and his father are shrimp fishermen. Etienne and Venice fall in love, she knows Etienne will not be good enough for her mother and she’s tired of her being so bossy. Etienne dreams about becoming a lawyer, moving to New Orleans and marrying Venice. With the First World War raging in Europe, it’s only a matter of time before American joins the fight and for the young couple it has terrible and long lasting consequences.

The narrative has a dual timeline, it goes between 1916 and 1991. Venice is now ninety five years old, she looks back at the last seventy five years and wants to share her and Etienne’s history with her granddaughter. It’s a story about love at first sight, WW I, the Spanish flu epidemic, greed, deception, revenge and having a mother that doesn’t care about her daughters feelings and happiness.

I received a copy of Belle Haven by Jayne Burke from NetGalley and Vintage South Books in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed reading about New Orleans, the Mardi gras, Creole food, Belle Haven, and when Venice and Etienne first met. I found parts of the story rather farfetched and especially in the last half of the book. A real shame, too much over the top drama for me and three and a half stars.

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Type: Romantasy
Age range: NA

- She would always love him, wherever he was, and nothing could sever the connection they felt that first night on the lake-front twenty-two years before.
- “You never have to wait for someone who is with you always,”
- Without Etienne, Venice considered herself nothing. She had become an empty shell of a person who had lost her most beloved, the integral part of her that made her life complete.
- Please live your life in your own way and be happy.

I picked this book thinking it wasn’t my kind of book and was I ever wrong. This is one of the best Romance books I’ve read. It’s so tastefully done and you can tell how much respect the Author has for their characters. There were ups and downs, twists and turns, a war, and pandemic. I fell for Venice our main character and love how much her Father loved her especially with the issues she had with her Mother and him always wanting her to be happy over everything else. Also the way she could never get Etienne out of her head because he was her true love. I would recommend this one over and over again!

- Romance
- Fated Mates

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This was a great historical fiction read. The story follows two timelines which really kept the story moving for me.

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It all kicked off at that summer home, Belle Haven, when the complacent dull life of the rich and privileged class lass went...BOOM! Fireworks! Venice was never the same again! A whole range and tweaks of emotions and events evoked and evolved from that chance meeting with Etienne. The book very ingenuiously embraces romance, enduring love, deceit, class disparity, a WWI setting, the Spanish Flu and so much more. One of those "can't put it down" books of nostalgic proportions. The author really knows how to spin a story and keep a secret; that is, keep the reader guessing, splashing and sprinkling surprizes and twists along the way when least expected. Despite some deep sadnesses and heartaches this has been a very satisfying read for me and I absolutely loved the superb ending! I believe most readers will too.

~Eunice C., Reviewer/Blogger~

November 2022

Disclaimer: This is my honest opinion based on the complimentary review copy sent by NetGalley and the publisher.

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“Belle Haven” is a historical fiction novel by Jane Burke. This book is told in two timelines - beginning during WWI in the US (starting around 1916) and the other timeline in the 1990s. I don’t know how I feel about this book because at times the incidents and reactions to said were so over the top that I rolled my eyes. But then at other times, especially when describing Europe during WWI, it seemed more real. I found the descriptions of the NOLA area to be pretty close to what I remembered visiting there a few times. While I can put up with some miscommunication, this book had it in so many ways that it ceased being an effective excuse (one or two miscommunications I understand, but then not seeing someone for nearly two years seemed really out of place). I also felt, at times, that while the love story was at the heart of this book, that the emotional over the top reactions and statements of the female lead were very teenager-like. The writing style seemed a bit simple and the storyline, for the most part, predictable.

NOTE: I believe that this book was previously released as “Venice.” There is nothing saying it, but reading the reviews of “Venice,” this book sounds like that one. Looking at the “other books by this author” in Belle Haven, “Venice” is not listed. If this book is a re-release, I wish that somewhere the publisher had noted it.

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I really enjoyed this, it was what I was hoping for from a historical romance novel, I was so invested in what was going on and I enjoyed getting to know the characters within it. The way the story did a good job in keeping the reader invested and I enjoyed going through this. Jaye Burke has a great writing style and I can't wait to read more from them.

"The man looked familiar, and after an hour of trying to remember, it became clear. She had met Art Micheaux on the streetcar on the way to Mandeville with Emilie. He must have finished graduate school at Loyola. Her father hired no one without a graduate’s degree in finance."

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