Sonnet, Jul 2001, 6.50
Bayou planter Jack Brussard fell in love with a prostitute. He married her, but she destroyed him with her continual string of men. Their daughter Juliette looked exactly like her deceased mother so Jack left her in a convent in France. Eight months ago, Jack killed himself. Now in 1853, Jack's solicitor informs Juliette that she inherits her father's gold wedding ring and a neglected piece of swamp land with the latter coming in two years when she turns twenty-one or now if she marries.
Accompanying the solicitor is her godfather Max Hollingsworth, who has come to take Juliette home, that is his family home in Baton Rouge. Max plans to ultimately gain control of her neglected estate through the marriage of Juliette to his son Tyler. When Juliette returns to Louisiana she falls in love with Chantz Boudreaux, a mud dauber farmer who lacks the social class level expected of a Brussard. However, contrary to belief and looks, Juliette is a chip off of her dad's block willing to risk everything for love.
FEVER is a rich historical romance that emphasizes the era just before the Civil War in the Bayou. The story line is loaded with tidbits, dialogue, and behavior including slave relationships perhaps befitting of the 1850s, but probably will jar sub-genre readers used to a more genteel description of the times. The secondary players add to the feel of being there, but the lead characters, in spite of numerous obstacles to a relationship between them, never rise above the fray so that the novel seems to drift between historical and romance.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner