House of Rougeaux
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.

House of Rougeaux Details

TitleHouse of Rougeaux
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 24th, 2018
PublisherRaincloud Press
ISBN-139781941203248
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Literary Fiction, Cultural, Canada, Adult, Family, Contemporary, Adult Fiction, Novels

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House of Rougeaux Review

  • Chaya Nebel
    January 1, 1970
    This multi-generational saga about a black family in the Americas is a thoughtful, incisive, touching and dramatic story. It starts with a brother and sister, slaves on a sugar plantation in Martinique, in the early 19th century. Abeje, the girl, utilizes her natural gifts and those of the natural world to become a healer. Her brother's daughter makes her way to Canada, eventually winning her freedom, and becomes the head of a family whose members make their way through life and through various This multi-generational saga about a black family in the Americas is a thoughtful, incisive, touching and dramatic story. It starts with a brother and sister, slaves on a sugar plantation in Martinique, in the early 19th century. Abeje, the girl, utilizes her natural gifts and those of the natural world to become a healer. Her brother's daughter makes her way to Canada, eventually winning her freedom, and becomes the head of a family whose members make their way through life and through various cities in North America. We get an intimate picture of slave life on a Caribbean island, the life of a freed slave in Canada, and many other touching portraits of the lives of this unique family. There is heartache, joy, births and deaths, triumphs and tragedies. There are obvious difficulties that the slaves face, and there are lesser ones faced by the historical realities of a post-slavery world and societies that still struggle with prejudice and bigotry. But we also feel the joys of the family relations and the touching moments. It is a great read in historical fiction.The time periods cover many decades, and the narrative shifts to several times over 2 centuries. One writing choice that I think was less than helpful was the author's jumping between time periods in a non-chronological way. We go from 1830s, to 1949, then 1964, 1925, 1853, back to 1883, etc. There was really no narrative or dramatic purpose for shuffling these timelines in this way, and indeed it would have only helped the narrative to put the periods in chronological order, as the drama of the family as it makes its way through history and into the future would be more touching and dramatic, and it would provide a greater sense of continuity from the past and their slave beginnings. It also made it a little confusing for the reader, who has to keep referring to the family tree in the beginning of the book to keep the family relations straight. The author is very skilled at inhabiting the various characters she focuses on in each part. Each of them is a distinct voice whose personalities come through strongly. Rather than feel disjointed at a new character's narrative, the various stories speak to the reader as part of a larger familial whole. Thus the family saga feels like one continuous tale, from Ayo's beginning as the familial matriarch, down to the near-present-day story lines. There are a number of typos in this review copy I was given, and the author or publisher may contact me about them if they so desire.Thank you to the author and publishers for a review copy.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    I won this novel from a Goodreads giveaway. This is my honest review. First things first, this novel was incredibly well written. From the very start, the narrative draws you in and the words flow smoothly. I love it when a book is able to easily and quickly engage you, and this book definitely does that. The book centers on a black slave family and the joys and struggles they face throughout multiple generations. It begins with two children who are slaves on a sugar plantation and follows them I won this novel from a Goodreads giveaway. This is my honest review. First things first, this novel was incredibly well written. From the very start, the narrative draws you in and the words flow smoothly. I love it when a book is able to easily and quickly engage you, and this book definitely does that. The book centers on a black slave family and the joys and struggles they face throughout multiple generations. It begins with two children who are slaves on a sugar plantation and follows them and their descendants throughout their lives. Each Character is well developed and you're soon invested in their personal stories. At times the book is sad and heartbreaking and at other times inspiring and triumphant. Overall, it was a very good read that immerses you in history and engages you in each character's life. A 5 star read!
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  • SibylM
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book from the publisher as part of a Goodreads Giveaway, and an honest review was request. The House of Rougeaux is a wonderful multi-generational family epic, following a family from slavery in Martinique to freedom and a multitude of stories and lives in Canada and the northeastern US. Multigenerational family stories are a particular love of mine, and I especially enjoyed getting to know parts of history that were unfamiliar to me. I liked the author's technique of s I received an ARC of this book from the publisher as part of a Goodreads Giveaway, and an honest review was request. The House of Rougeaux is a wonderful multi-generational family epic, following a family from slavery in Martinique to freedom and a multitude of stories and lives in Canada and the northeastern US. Multigenerational family stories are a particular love of mine, and I especially enjoyed getting to know parts of history that were unfamiliar to me. I liked the author's technique of skipping forward and back in time in order to flesh out the stories of each generation. I still want to know what happens with Rosalie (my favorite character). I hope the author writes a sequel that includes her!The one aspect of the book that I did not care much for was the focus on spiritual healing, psychics, communicating with animals, etc. Since I don't believe in any of that it just seemed silly to me. I admit I did a bit of speed-reading when those parts got (to me) overly long.I think this book will appeal to fans of Homegoing, Pachinko, and other similar family stories.
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  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    Having read about slavery in the Carribean previously, I appreciated how the story followed history so closely. This story starts in the Carribean and stretches to Canada. The author tells by jumping around in time. For the first half of the book, I had trouble keeping the characters straight because my eyesight is too poor to read the family tree. If the print size on the family tree could be increased, that would help tremendously. After the first half of the book, I was able to connect the di Having read about slavery in the Carribean previously, I appreciated how the story followed history so closely. This story starts in the Carribean and stretches to Canada. The author tells by jumping around in time. For the first half of the book, I had trouble keeping the characters straight because my eyesight is too poor to read the family tree. If the print size on the family tree could be increased, that would help tremendously. After the first half of the book, I was able to connect the different members of the family together and the stories had more meaning. Racial discrimination, homosexuality,family ties and slavery were all evident in this historical fiction tale of generations. I loved learning about the funeral customs of the Carribean, the way that the author handled the homosexuality in this book. The characters, Guillaume Rougeaux and Eleanor Rougeaux were described with beautiful sensitivity to their challenges.I would love to read the sequel to this book.I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book as a win from LibraryThing from the publishers in exchange for a fair book review. My thoughts and feelings in this review are totally my own.
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  • Gudrun Mouw
    January 1, 1970
    I so admire the easeful writing style. The plot fascinates, and the ending fulfills, which is rare. I loved this book!
  • Homeschoolmama
    January 1, 1970
    I received this ARC just a about a week ago and found it to be an interesting read. Not great, not a page turner that kept me up all night, but it was good. I was intrigued by the description of the story on the back - a brother and sister, Adunbi and Abeje, are born into slavery on a sugar plantation on the Antilles Island of Martinique and they survive, despite brutality, death, illness and loss. The beginning of the book follows their lives for a bit, then subsequent chapters are about the li I received this ARC just a about a week ago and found it to be an interesting read. Not great, not a page turner that kept me up all night, but it was good. I was intrigued by the description of the story on the back - a brother and sister, Adunbi and Abeje, are born into slavery on a sugar plantation on the Antilles Island of Martinique and they survive, despite brutality, death, illness and loss. The beginning of the book follows their lives for a bit, then subsequent chapters are about the lives of some of their descendants. There is a family tree in the beginning which I found myself referring to constantly, just to keep track of everyone. I tend to get impatient and irritated with books that have too many characters to remember. The book was like a collection of individual different stories, out of chronological order, so it did seem disjointed in parts. I liked the descriptions of nature and some of the characters were well drawn out, while others weren't and many weren't even mentioned again. Which left me wondering why they were even included in the family tree(?) I know there is more editing planned for this book, so hopefully some improvements can be made to tie the stories together a bit more. All in all a good book though.
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  • M
    January 1, 1970
    This is a far flung family saga that begins with slaves in Martinique and skips back and forth in time and place. To Canada, The United states, Europe, and back to the Caribbean. The story jumps from 1785-1869, then to 1949, then 1964, then 1925, then 1853, then 1883-1889, and then the late 1800s. Each section looks at a different family member. They are like a series of interrelated stories.I rather liked this approach. It's very much the way we learn our own family history, with this great aun This is a far flung family saga that begins with slaves in Martinique and skips back and forth in time and place. To Canada, The United states, Europe, and back to the Caribbean. The story jumps from 1785-1869, then to 1949, then 1964, then 1925, then 1853, then 1883-1889, and then the late 1800s. Each section looks at a different family member. They are like a series of interrelated stories.I rather liked this approach. It's very much the way we learn our own family history, with this great aunt telling us about one journey, a grandmother filling us in with stories of her childhood, another bit learned from a document--all coming at different times, out of order, leaving us to piece together what we can.If this seems confusing and disjointed there is a nice family tree to help keep track of everyone. If this hadn't been provided, I would have had to draw one up.A sequel is promised. I look forward to it. Advance review copy through LibraryThing.
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    House of Rougeaux is an engaging, well written multi-generational family saga. The author explores key issues relating to slavery, racial and gender discrimination, homosexuality and family. At times the book suffers from heavy-handed literary stratagems, yet is overshadowed by Jaeckel ‘s skill at storytelling. Keep an eye out for future work by this talented new author.
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  • Janice
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer's program.This is a well written novel that follows the generations of a family from the island of Martinique, to Canada and New York. The story begins with a mother and her young children, all slaves on a sugar cane plantation in Martinique. The young daughter learns to be a healer, and her story dominates the earliest part of the novel, as she grows and gains friends and enemies on the plantation. It is her niece who first immigrates to Canada I won this book from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer's program.This is a well written novel that follows the generations of a family from the island of Martinique, to Canada and New York. The story begins with a mother and her young children, all slaves on a sugar cane plantation in Martinique. The young daughter learns to be a healer, and her story dominates the earliest part of the novel, as she grows and gains friends and enemies on the plantation. It is her niece who first immigrates to Canada, as the slave accompanying two daughters of the plantation owners, who are being sent to Canada for their education. When all slaves in Canada are freed, she takes advantage of her opportunities there and establishes her self, and lays a foundation for the future generations of her family. I liked the flow of this story, through the generations, and felt that even though the story moved back and forth through the families' history, it had continuity and was fairly easy to follow. The characters were engaging and easy to root for. Even though the story takes place at various times in history, the author added rich historical detail to each character's life story.
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  • Kylene
    January 1, 1970
    House of Rougeaux starts on a plantation on the island of Martinique, telling the story of Abeje and her brother Adunbi. It follows Adunbi's descendants as they move to Canada and the United States. Many of the female descendants have talents in music or healing. The story is not linear, and reads somewhat like a collection of interconnected short stories. I felt the non-linear structure really worked for this book, although I did need to refer to the family tree quite often!Overall, I really li House of Rougeaux starts on a plantation on the island of Martinique, telling the story of Abeje and her brother Adunbi. It follows Adunbi's descendants as they move to Canada and the United States. Many of the female descendants have talents in music or healing. The story is not linear, and reads somewhat like a collection of interconnected short stories. I felt the non-linear structure really worked for this book, although I did need to refer to the family tree quite often!Overall, I really liked this book. However, I liked some of the stories a lot and some of the others I struggled with. I did like the unique settings, and I learned from reading about this family's experiences over the years.
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  • Sonali Dabade
    January 1, 1970
    [Honest rating: 4.5/5 stars]Got a copy of this book from NetGalley.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 [Honest rating: 4.5/5 stars]Got a copy of this book from NetGalley.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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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    The House of Rougeaux follows the descendants of two children who are left motherless on a sugar plantation on the Caribbean island of Martinique in 1785 up until the mid-1960's. I loved the first section of this book which follows Abeje, who eventually becomes a healer and her brother Adunbi. I immediately felt something for these two characters. The hardships and unfortunate circumstances of there lives pulled at my heart. The author had a wonderful ability to transport me to the Caribbean and The House of Rougeaux follows the descendants of two children who are left motherless on a sugar plantation on the Caribbean island of Martinique in 1785 up until the mid-1960's. I loved the first section of this book which follows Abeje, who eventually becomes a healer and her brother Adunbi. I immediately felt something for these two characters. The hardships and unfortunate circumstances of there lives pulled at my heart. The author had a wonderful ability to transport me to the Caribbean and the reality of their everyday lives. But, I didn't understand why the story jumped from the 1800's to descendants living in the 1950's in the United States and Canada. I think I would have enjoyed this book much more if it had been chronological in order or even if it had omitted the second and third chapter. I was also not a big fan of extremely long chapters often followed by a very short one. It made the story seem unbalanced to me. I liked the ending of the book which followed one descendant Eleanor, who returned to Martinique to find out more about her ancestors, Abeje and Adunbi. I think the author has a gift and talent for creating beautiful prose and being able to draw a reader into the characters. But, I was disappointed with the structure chosen for the work. Thanks to Library Thing for allowing me to read and review this book in exchange for an honest review.More reviews at: www.susannesbooklist.blogspot.com
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  • Sarah Wagner
    January 1, 1970
    *I received this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers.*I was originally attracted to this book because I understood it to be set on a Caribbean island (what better setting?!?!), so I was disappointed when the family this book follows moved to Canada about a quarter of the way through the book. Maybe because of this, I found the middle portion of the book the hardest to get through, but by the end I was enjoying the story again and impressed by the breath of what the author tackles in this b *I received this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers.*I was originally attracted to this book because I understood it to be set on a Caribbean island (what better setting?!?!), so I was disappointed when the family this book follows moved to Canada about a quarter of the way through the book. Maybe because of this, I found the middle portion of the book the hardest to get through, but by the end I was enjoying the story again and impressed by the breath of what the author tackles in this book - it spans centuries, addresses racism and homosexuality, as well as discuss how one family manages to make their way through. I'm still not certain I liked how the story skipped between characters and time periods, but I can say I liked the ending and the final character to be focused on (who does make it back to that Caribbean island).
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  • Emily Onufer
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book for free through the Goodreads giveaways program. This novel is an excellent tale of a complex family through the generations. It is expertly written and rich in small details that connect the individual stories over time. The only drawback was the chronology - as the story switched characters, I found myself frequently referring to the family tree in the beginning of the book to remind myself of how the characters were connected genealogically. Despite this slight I received a copy of this book for free through the Goodreads giveaways program. This novel is an excellent tale of a complex family through the generations. It is expertly written and rich in small details that connect the individual stories over time. The only drawback was the chronology - as the story switched characters, I found myself frequently referring to the family tree in the beginning of the book to remind myself of how the characters were connected genealogically. Despite this slight confusion, the intimate look into the lives of the people in this family is engaging and fascinating from start to finish.
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  • Jenee Rager
    January 1, 1970
    House of Rougeaux is really a collection of stories, rather than a novel. The stories alternate back and forth between members of the Rougeaux family from the early 19th century to the 20th century. The writing is clear, and almost dream like, but something never quite clicked with me. The author's choice to skip around from generation to generation and back again, versus staying in chronological order did not add to the storyline, and in fact made it a bit harder to follow that I thought it sho House of Rougeaux is really a collection of stories, rather than a novel. The stories alternate back and forth between members of the Rougeaux family from the early 19th century to the 20th century. The writing is clear, and almost dream like, but something never quite clicked with me. The author's choice to skip around from generation to generation and back again, versus staying in chronological order did not add to the storyline, and in fact made it a bit harder to follow that I thought it should be. I found myself constantly referring to the family tree at the front of the book to keep track of who was who.
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  • Monise
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway.When I first started reading it, I realized it was one of those books that required my full attention. The backstory of the characters and how they were related was a bit complicated, so I made sure to start over. The storyline improved as it progressed; it reminded me of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, in that everyone had their own story (chapter) so each character was well-developed.Getting to read a story about slavery in the Caribbean was interestin I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway.When I first started reading it, I realized it was one of those books that required my full attention. The backstory of the characters and how they were related was a bit complicated, so I made sure to start over. The storyline improved as it progressed; it reminded me of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, in that everyone had their own story (chapter) so each character was well-developed.Getting to read a story about slavery in the Caribbean was interesting, as most of the books about slavery have been set in America. Overall, it was a good story. I would have liked to read more about her life in Canada as a little girl.
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  • Catherine Strauch
    January 1, 1970
    I loved the majority of this book. I love multi-generational books, and especially when each of the new characters are individual while still connecting to the overall family themes as this was. However, there were small parts that felt awkward and clumsy in comparison to the rest of the book, and there were a couple of inconsistencies in spellings of names, and some nicknames that made me think one person was two. But, as this was an uncorrected proof I’m hoping that these things will be smooth I loved the majority of this book. I love multi-generational books, and especially when each of the new characters are individual while still connecting to the overall family themes as this was. However, there were small parts that felt awkward and clumsy in comparison to the rest of the book, and there were a couple of inconsistencies in spellings of names, and some nicknames that made me think one person was two. But, as this was an uncorrected proof I’m hoping that these things will be smoothed out, and then I think this would be a wonderful book for anyone to read :)
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  • Kim McGee
    January 1, 1970
    A Caribbean slave epic that began on the island of Martinique with two siblings. Each tries to find their calling and survive after being orphaned. The story spans many lifetimes to Canada and New York , each generation meeting new challenges and freedoms. The language is the easy going singsong of the islands and the author sets the tone of the story well making us wish for more of the stories behind each of the characters. My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    House of Rougeaux by Jenny Jaeckel is a book about a multi-generational family saga. I loved how all the different characters had such interesting stories relating to slavery, race, homosexuality, and many other things. I thought this book was very well written and kept me wanting more. I would definitely recommend it to friends!
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  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    It was difficult to read this sweeping history of a family in slavery and freedom without comparing it to Yan Gyasi's HOMEGOING published in 2016. Although House of Rougeaux did not hold the same mesmerizing power as Homegoing, it is a very good, engaging novel. There are a few thin chapters in the middle, but the book weaves a rich narrative and makes a satisfying circle in the end.
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  • Deb
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book on a goodreads giveaway. This is an extremely well written family history/ saga that takes you from slave quarters in Martinique, through Canada and the US. It explores race, sexuality, gender and relationships throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
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  • Tracie
    January 1, 1970
    A beautifully written book that tells the story of several generations beginning in 19th century slavery in the Carribean. Each family experiences joy and tragedy but the families are always strong and draw strength from their ancestors. The author was able to convey the story of transition from slavery to freedom in a way that made sense. Would love to pass this on to my friends.
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  • Rachel Parrott
    January 1, 1970
    This beautiful written work invokes each place and time vividly as well as the dynamic characters in the "House of Rougeaux."My copy was a gift through Goodreads First Reads.
  • Brenda Schneider
    January 1, 1970
    An engaging and well written story. Really liked the book. I won this book through goodreads.
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