Review: House of Rougeaux

House of Rougeaux

House of Rougeaux #1

by Jenny Jaeckel

For Abeje and her brother Adunbi, home is the slave quarters of a Caribbean sugar plantation on the Antilles Island of Martinique. Under the watchful eye of their African mother, the children thrive despite what threatens to break them. After a night of brutality changes their lives forever, it is their strength and extraordinary bond that carries them through.

At the dawn of emancipation, Adunbi’s daughter Hetty finds her way to Quebec City as maid to the slave owner’s daughters. There she discovers a talent for piano and meets a bold saddler’s apprentice named Dax Rougeaux. After buying her freedom, Dax and Hetty join a growing community of Afro-Canadians living free.

In moving prose, author Jenny Jaeckel creates a brilliantly imagined epic, weaving a multi-layered narrative that celebrates the Rougeaux family truimphs while exposing the injustices of their trials. As each new member of the family takes the spotlight, a fresh piece of the puzzle is illuminated until at last, after a span of nearly two centuries, the end brings us back to the beginning.

In her debut novel, award-winning author Jenny Jaeckel masterfully blends coming-of-age, folklore, and historical fiction with explorations of gender, race, and sexuality, creating a wondrous tale of hope and healing. A relevant work of love, determination, and the many small achievements that make up greatness, House of Rougeaux draws a new map of what it means to be family.

REVIEW

5 out of 5

This was an absolutely brilliant blending of historical and literary fiction. A captivating family saga that spans generations, this story will transport you. I found this was more about feeling than seeing what you were reading, if that makes sense. Instead of watching a movie unfold, I felt the story wrapping around me, tugging and pulling me in. I have to applaud how masterfully this was written. Highly recommend, would rate higher than a five if I could.

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About the Author

Jenny Jaeckel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and a Master of Arts in Hispanic Literatures from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Jaeckel grew up in Northern California. Currently, she lives in Victoria, British Columbia with her husband and child.

In 2016, Jaeckel’s graphic memoir Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU published, and it won the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the Parenting category. Spot 12 was also a 2016 finalist in the Foreword Indies Book Awards. Her previous titles include For the Love of Meat: Nine Illustrated Stories and Siberiak: My Cold War Adventure on the River Ob. House of Rougeaux is Jaeckel’s debut novel.

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