February 23, 2021

Necessary Sins: Lazare Family Saga #1

Necessary Sins: Lazare Family Saga #1

Elizabeth Bell

Published August 7, 2019 by Claire-Voie Books

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

Rating: 4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

In antebellum Charleston, a Catholic priest grapples with doubt, his family’s secret African ancestry, and his love for a slave owner’s wife.

Joseph Lazare and his two sisters grow up believing their black hair and olive skin come from a Spanish grandmother—until the summer they learn she was an African slave. While his sisters make very different choices, Joseph struggles to transcend the flesh by becoming a celibate priest.

Then young Father Joseph meets Tessa Conley, a devout Irish immigrant who shares his passions for music and botany. Joseph must conceal his true feelings as Tessa marries another man—a plantation owner who treats her like property. Acting on their love for each other will ruin Joseph and Tessa in this world and damn them in the next.

Or will it?

My Thoughts: Complex, emotional, evocative, dizzyingly haunting, Antebellum South at its rawest; these are just some of the terms that come to mind when I reflect on this book.

As with many other readers I was drawn to the book because of the references made of its similarities to The Thorn Birds. Author Elizabeth Bell writes a sweeping epic of discovery balanced brilliantly with exceptional research. This isn’t just a story that grapples with the complexities of slavery and love, this is a story of a family that has to acknowledge what their family history is and how to come to terms with it. Bell has a talent with words and readers are the beneficiaries. She provides both haunting and beautiful literary experiences for the characters she writes for us. A simply tantalizing debut.

Thank you to the author and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for a copy of this book.

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