Historical Novel Society Review

The Historical Novel Society published their review of House of Rougeaux last week and they loved it! See the full review below.

In the 18th century, Iya was taken from her African home and enslaved on a sugar cane plantation on the island of Martinique. Iya’s children, Adunbi and Abeje, and grandchild, Hetty, are born into slavery. Hetty was taken to Canada and, when slavery was abolished there, she married Dax Rougeaux and gave birth to five children who became the first free-born descendants since their great-grandmother Iya.

In seven sections, and from 1785 to 1964, a different family member tells the story of the House of Rougeaux. Iya’s life is taken by a horrible act of the master’s son. Abeje is a healer and highly revered in the slave community. Her brother Adunbi marries but loses his daughter Hetty when the master trades her for a heifer calf. This non-linear story continues with two young cousins, Nelie and Azzie, living in Philadelphia in 1949; Rosalie, a high school student in 1964; and Martine in Montreal in 1925. In 1853 Hetty is taken to Montreal, and her son Guillaume tells his story from 1883-1889. The narrative of Guillaume’s daughter finishes the book in late 1800s New York. The genealogy chart is an invaluable reference since the story jumps back and forth in time, making it difficult to place each narrator within the context of the family.

This family suffers the indignities of slavery and its aftermath while living with grace and strength through time and important historical events. I could feel their pain, fear, and heartache through the author’s intensely beautiful descriptions. For example, Guillaume mourning his wife’s death: “A long, long river of tears cut a path through the night, until the sky paled, and the bleak dawn broke, unwanted, outside the window.” I felt his all-consuming grief. The language of each narrator feels authentic, whether slave or business owner, illiterate or educated. A wonderful read.

 

House of Rougeaux by Jenny Jaeckel and narrated by Bahni Turpin is just two weeks old!  We are so grateful for all the publicity, praise and new fans that are coming out to say they love the book. House of Rougeaux is available in your favorite format: Hardcover, eBook, Audio (digital), and Audio (CD). If you don’t want to buy it, request it at your local library!! If you’ve read House of Rougeaux or listened to it already, join the discussion! Leave a review on Goodreads, Amazon or Audible. Thanks!

Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Publishers Weekly reviewed the audiobook version of House of Rougeaux this week. We are so honored to receive a starred review. Here’s the excerpt:

 

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. —Publisher’s Weekly

The audiobook version will be available in digital download format on 4/24/18, and the audiobook on CD is planned for publication in June. Have a listen of Bahni Turpin’s performance:

And here’s the whole review:

Actor Turpin’s skill with a vast array of accents brings the characters of Jaeckel’s multigenerational novel to life. The story begins with a young brother and sister, Adunbi and Abeje, who are slaves on the Caribbean island of Martinique in the 18th century, and follows Adunbi’s descendants to Quebec City, Montreal, Philadelphia, and New York City in the proceeding centuries. In each era, a different character is highlighted: Abeje becomes a respected healer; Adunbi’s daughter, Hetty, is taken to Quebec City and becomes emancipated; Hetty’s son Guillaume is successful, marries, and has children, but hides his homosexuality until a chance encounter changes his life; Eleanor, Guillaume’s musically talented daughter, gets an opportunity to audition for a prestigious conservatory in New York, which takes her life in unexpected directions. 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. A Raincloud hardcover. (Apr.) —Publisher’s Weekly


House of Rougeaux by Jenny Jaeckel, and narrated by Bahni Turpin, is available for pre-order now, in hardcover or ebook.
We’ve partnered with Blackstone Audio to distribute the audio version of House of Rougeaux worldwide. Look for CD or downloadable versions of House of Rougeaux by Jenny Jaeckel and narrated by Bahni Turpin at all your favorite audiobook vendors on April 24th, 2018. Also, you can order the book on CD through your favorite bookstore.

 

Here’s pre-order links for audio versions on Amazon and Downpour.

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House of Rougeaux in Foreword Reviews

In the March/April issue of Foreword Reviews  a lovely review of House of Rougeaux appears. Here’s an excerpt of the review.  Don’t miss your opportunity to own this highly anticipated title. Pre-order your copy now!

The story unfolds in seven sections, each focusing on a different member of what becomes a very large clan. To the book’s credit, this is not your typical generational tale. The sections are not presented in chronological order, but skip from Abeje to the 1960s and civil rights eras, then back again to the last decades of slavery, then forward to post-Civil War years.  Also unconventional is the fact that the story does not pass from parent to child, but broadens to hopscotch among characters who are distant cousins.

Both of these high-wire risks work to the book’s advantage, creating a wide tapestry rather than a narrow portrait and giving a sense of the vast scope that the word “family” entails….Perhaps the greatest achievement of the book is that in spite of the inescapable presence of slavery and prejudice, it isn’t really about either of these things. Jenny Jaeckel’s House of Rougeaux is about people–varied and fully realized individuals who make the flawed world their own.

 

–Susan Waggoner, Foreword Reviews

 


House of Rougeaux is available for pre-order online and will be sold in bookstores across the US and Canada. Publication date is April 24th, 2018.

Author Jenny Jaeckel’s fourth book and debut novel, House of Rougeaux, was named one of Bitch Media’s 25 Must-Reads for 2018. Learn more about Jenny Jaeckel at www.jennyjaeckel.com.

New Title

COVERjulySMALLMany thanks to advance reader and published poet Perie Longo for coming up with a new title for our forthcoming book. Once titled Out of the Ashes, it is now called From Ashes Into Light. We realized there were just too many other books with the same title as our first choice. Threw out the old title and old cover today. Sometimes it’s a good day for a new incarnation.

Our blurbs from advanced readers are starting to come in so stay tuned!

 

Happy New Year

Raincloud Press is officially one year old. With two books under our belt that are being well-received, it feels like a good start to this small press. Deer Creek Resources LLC (which owns Raincloud) had a good year, and has invested more money in the imprint, allowing us to get ready for our first hardcover publication.

We have been Print-on-Demand for the most part, but now we are working with a printer in nearby Santa Clara.   We are also applying with new distributors, looking for that perfect partnership that will help our books get into more hands.

BlackoneCloudCatalogA few of the best things about 2014 for me was getting our books in the local bookstore (Lyons Books), and the two conferences I attended (IBPA’s Publishers University & NCIBA Discovery Show) where I enjoyed mingling with other small presses and booksellers.

I’ve been working with my authors and editors on timing for this coming year. I’m tentatively scheduling our first novel and first hardcover publication, From Ashes into Light, for October of this year. The advance copies are scheduled to arrive this week, and we are rounding up blurb writers. We are particularly interested in feedback about what books are similar to this rich, multilayered title. If you are a reviewer and want a review copy, please email me or stay tuned for the manuscript to be available on NetGalley (by the end of March). Also, I will be giving copies away on Goodreads.com. Check back in April or so for a link to Goodreads Giveaway.

 

Erika Lunder, Publisher