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Book Review: The Cards Don’t Lie

The Cards Don’t Lie. Sue Ingalls Finan. She Writes Press, October 9, 2018, Trade Paperback and E-book, 368 pages.

Reviewed by Janet Cole. 

The Cards Don’t Lie is a tale of events and relationships occurring immediately before and during the War of 1812. A diverse array of characters of various ethnicities and cultural backgrounds find common ground and camaraderie as they struggle to survive the challenges presented when the British attempt to invade the city of New Orleans.

Unlikely alliances form and heartbreaking decisions are made. The young English lad, Peter, forced into conscription by the British navy and then captured by pirates, finds love in New Orleans with a young prostitute who heroically volunteers her time and risks her safety to deliver supplies to General Andrew Jackson’s army. She then returns with the wounded to the makeshift hospital in the Ursuline convent on the outskirts of the city. Catherine, a midwife of Creole and former slave heritage, makes a deathbed promise to her dying Creole son-in-law, wounded in battle, to take any measures necessary to have his newborn son brought up as a free man with all the advantages that would accompany that status. This promise propels Catherine to make a shocking decision that causes a break in her relationship with her daughter, Suzanne, and unites a child with his grandfather. 

The Cards Don’t Lie is fascinating account rich in historical detail. It contrasts cultures and lifestyles as the author, Sue Ingalls Finan, describes Creole society and Voodoo culture in relation to those who remained slaves and those who had been freed. It was, indeed, a complex and enthralling time. 


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