Pages - 309
Published by Point in 2009
Challenges - YA challenge
New Orleans, the summer of 1853. Yellow fever ravages the busy port city. Bells toll for the souls of the dead. Boats on the Mississippi River are placed in quarantine, their cargoes left to spoil, their crews felled by disease. Before the summer is over, eight thousand people will die.
I had a feeling months ago, that the cover would not be the only fantastic thing about this book and I was right. I picked it out as one of my Friday Finds and was lucky enough to get it for Christmas. If you put New Orleans, ghosts and the Lafayette Cemetery together, you will have my full attention. I am falling in love with anything New Orleans and desperately want to go there to see all the wonderful things this book talks about.
The book moves forward from 1853 quite quickly and brings you into the present day, where Rebecca is sent to live with a distant aunt, whilst her father goes to work in China. She knows from the first day at her new school, that she has absolutely no chance of fitting in.
Rebecca is curious about the in crowd and decides to follow them on their weekly nocturnal visit to the Lafayette Cemetery, where all their ancestors are buried. Concerned that she might be discovered by the group, Rebecca sets off in a run and heads straight into Lisette. Rebecca feels she has found a friend in Lisette, even if she is a ghost with a dark past.
Whilst in town, Rebecca also attracts the attention of the dark and brooding Anton, who normally only dates girls from the in crowd. Why is he suddenly interested in Rebecca? Then there is all the commotion of the preparation for Mardi Gras, where Rebecca gets to play a vital part in the celebrations.
I am not going to tell you any more, because if I do it will really spoil the story. As I read my own description, the book sounds like another high school romance and from reading the first few pages I was worried that it may fall into that genre, but I was so wrong, this book is a lot darker and touches on lots of details of New Orleans history, recent as well as past. The book just got darker and darker as I continued to read it.
I really loved this book and became completely immersed in the story quite quickly. There were lots of twists and turns in the second half of the book that I had no idea were coming and blew me away.
Rebecca comes across as a feisty New Yorker, who is not about to let the most famous families of the New Orleans give her a hard time. She fights them tooth and nail until the truth is revealed.
I loved reading about Lafayette Cemetery, which probably sounds a bit weird, but I suppose it is a little like our Highgate Cemetery over here in London, which is steeped in history and the resting place of many famous people, such as Karl Marx and George Eliot.
I now need more books on New Orleans to quench my thirst for such a wonderful part of America. This book was a great start to 2010.