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House of Rougeaux: A Novel by Jenny Jaeckel
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House of Rougeaux: A Novel

by Jenny Jaeckel

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10362166,832 (3.46)6

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Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I wasn't sure about this book as I was reading it. I loved the characters but I spent a lot of time looking back to the timeline, distracted by trying to figure out where everyone fit in. It was confusing that the chapters introduced characters in what felt like random order. But by the end I could tell that the family, the story, had been building, not jumbled, in spite of the disarray, and I did feel like the book had come full circle. I appreciated the overlay of racial and social awareness that added context and depth to the story without taking away from the characters. A sad but hopeful and beautiful book. ( )
  MizPurplest | Aug 15, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
House of Rougeaux is an intergenerational series of woven vignettes. The writing was evocative and the sense of place came through very well. The characters all had clear traits or characteristics, and their stories were almost solely about their dominating trait, and moved at a fast clip without delving into personality or choices very much. This may be due to the nature of weaving together what were essentially short stories. It was a page turner and seemed like a well-researched take on stories that aren’t often told. ( )
  SiriJR | Jul 21, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Good and interesting saga, but at times hard to read. Many characters, which gets hard to follow sometimes, but once you get into the groove of the storytelling, its worth it. I would say more of a short stories layout as you can't get attached to anyone, the story will change on a dime.
  aggie420 | Jul 13, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I probably would have given another star if this book wouldn't have been trying to be so ambitious. It told many stories of many ancestors before it hit on the final two - the ones I found the most interesting. The backstory didn't do much for me, I wish the book would have focused on the family members in the final two parts of the book.

Beginning with a family of slaves in Martinique hundreds of years ago, and jumping around to different generations and different eras throughout, this is a tale of numerous generations of the same family. Detailed are their trials and tribulations, as well as their gifts - specifically, the gift some of the women have of communing with the spirits.

Each generation has a different story, a different hardship. Some have happy endings, some just stop and the next random story begins.

I found it somewhat difficult to keep track of how each character was related, often referring to the family tree chart in the beginning of the book (which was incomplete in my ARC). Many characters were named after previous ancestors, so I really had to pay attention to in what year each chapter was set.

As stated before, I had a much harder time relating to the beginning of the book, and didn't get truly intrigued until the last 100 pages or so. But, a worthwhile read if you can keep it all straight.

I won a copy of this book from LibraryThing. ( )
  mandersj73 | Jun 29, 2018 |
I won a copy of House of Rougeaux through a Goodreads Giveaway (my first time winning!) I don't think I would have normally picked this up - and I try to enter myself in giveaways for just this reason - to discover new authors and read stories I wouldn't normally seek out.

House of Rougeaux was a wonderful story of a family spanning across the globe and across generations. The saga is non-linear, so it jumps around a bit. I had a hard time following in the beginning and there are quite a few characters to keep straight. But once I got a few chapters in, it was fairly easy to keep track. The family tree illustration in the beginning is super helpful and I fell in love with this family - and the way the author connected the generations was clever and didn't feel forced at all.

From the early 1800's at a sugar plantation in Martinique with Abeje, a healer, and her brother - facing tremendous brutality and loss - only to survive and start the legacy of this story and this family. To more present day with Eleanor, a musician in Canada - faced with a harrowing situation and tough choices, coming full circle.

There is magic and wonder, healing and suffering, as well as music and love. You see these aspects reflected across bloodlines, across generations, from slavery to freedom and across the world. Things are passed down, and you see a bit of some characters in other, through an intricate weaving of layers. But it's easy to see how this family changed and progressed over 100 years, and the spirit that lives within them all.

The story was captivating and the writing, eloquent. Thanks to Goodreads, Jenny Jaeckel and Raincloud Press for the opportunity to read and review.
( )
  Bookapotamus | Jun 27, 2018 |
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Sitting here under this grand old tree, her skirts spread about her in a wheel.
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If hardship is part of the necessary clay of life, grace is the hand that has shaped it. (p.129)
Hetty looked down at her own hands...They were the earth, baked by the sun. As if the earth had risen up and shaped itself into a living, breathing woman. As if such a thing could be. (p. 150)
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For Abeje and her brother Adunbi, home is the slave quarters of a Caribbean sugar plantation on the Island of Martinique. Under the watchful eye of their mother they survive, despite what threatens to break them. But when one night of brutality leaves the two children orphaned, it is the strength of their extraordinary bond that carries them through, establishing a legacy of tremendous spirit and courage that will sustain the Rougeaux family for generations to come.In literary prose, award-winning author Jenny Jaeckel creates a brilliantly imagined epic, weaving a multi-layered narrative that celebrates family as much as it exposes systemic brutalization and the ways in which it marks us. As each new member of the family takes the spotlight a fresh piece of the puzzle is illuminated until at last, spanning nearly two centuries, the end brings us back to the beginning.Jaeckel masterfully blends genres of mysticism, coming-of-age, folklore, and historical fiction with explorations of gender and race, creating a wondrous tale of hope and healing through trauma. 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.… (more)

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