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 by Jenny Jaeckel
In skillful prose, author JENNY JAECKEL masterfully blends genres of coming-of-age, folklore, magical realism, and historical fiction with explorations of gender, race, and sexuality, creating a wondrous and harrowing tale of hope and healing.
Following echoes between generations which defy normal time and space, a multilayered narrative celebrates the ROUGEAUX family triumphs while exposing the injustices of their trials. It begins with Iya, born in Africa in the 1700s, and brought to the Caribbean island of Martinique as a slave, and her two children, Adunbi and Abeje, who grow up on a sugar estate. The siblings endure because of the kindness of fellow bondsmen and their uncommon abilities. A grandchild becomes emancipated in Quebec City, great-grandchildren find their way in Montreal, a great-great-grandchild runs off to Philadelphia, and another risks everything in New York City. As each new member of the family takes the spotlight, a fresh piece of the puzzle is illuminated until at last, a homecoming uplifts them all.
"Starting in 1785, House of Rougeaux by Jenny Jaeckel follows an enslaved family on a Martinique sugar estate—you may never eat the refined white stuff again after reading. While Jaeckel writes bluntly about the horrors of this particular colonialism, her main focus is the bond between siblings Abeje and Adunbi, a bond that unites them through being orphaned and finally, when a long-held secret is unearthed, helps the Rougeaux family understand its deep legacy. Jaeckel’s graceful prose and clear purpose make this an excellent addition to historical novels about the French Caribbean."
House of Rougeaux was recorded to audio in December 2017. We worked with Mosaic Studios in Los Angeles and were privileged to have Bahni Turpin as our voice actor. The audiobook will be available in April 2018, as a digital download everywhere audiobooks are sold. Stay tuned for reviews of the audiobook version! The audiobook in CD and downloadable (Audible) format is now available, find any format on Downpour, or request at your local library!
“Turpin’s cool, clear voice fluidly takes the listener from place to place, and her accent switches seamlessly from Caribbean to French to English to American Southern, giving each character a distinct and authentic voice. Turpin’s multifaceted performance enhances this rich tapestry of a novel.”
—Publishers Weekly starred review
Bahni Turpin performs on the audio book version of House of Rougeaux. Turpin has narrated over seventy audiobooks, including the National Book Award winner The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. She is also an acclaimed actress with many theatre, TV and film credits. Turpin has won many awards for her audiobook narration, including the Audie Award for Best Fiction Narration (for the title Sister of Mine). For a list of her film and TV credits, see IMDB.com.
“She tells them of the one-eyed dog and the three-legged cat. The gourd that ate a man and kept him prisoner...and many other things.”
-House of Rougeaux
The different generations of the family all face pain and losses, but overall the book offers a sense of hope and survival. Becoming free does not end their troubles. At times they redefine the meaning of family...I gladly recommend this book for readers who welcome another version of what it has meant to be black in North America.
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!
...the intimate look into the lives of the people in this family is engaging and fascinating from start to finish.
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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