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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Bitter Destiny (Du Cormier Saga Book 1) by Heather Osborne is a prequel novella to her full-length novels, Bitter Bonds and Divided Destiny. Post-revolutionary France was no place for nobles, especially if there were any questions about past loyalty to the crown. Heads were rolling and when Arnaud du Grace’s father lost his, the young man realized it was time to head for safer lands. With his new wife, Marie, a former servant in their grand house, by his side, Arnaud headed for Louisiana, for the plantation his father had so wisely purchased years earlier, fearing the worst for the political future of France. Although Louisiana is now no longer under French control and is instead controlled by the Spanish, the young couple discovers not all their problems in France have been left behind. Simply changing their names had not been enough to ensure they remained hidden from those back in France who eyed their superb plantation with greed. To compound their problems, even in their new life it appeared certain other plantation owners viewed their property as highly desirable. Amidst this fear and uncertainty, the two set down roots to establish a family and a dynasty in the new world of Louisiana.
Bitter Destiny is just a very short novella to set the background for the series to come. Author Heather Osborne has done an excellent job of providing the setting and the antecedents of her future novels. If the purpose of the novella was to attract readers to the series, then I can definitely say she has achieved her objective. The writing style is flowing and conversational and, as a real historical fiction buff, I found the time period of just after the Revolution to be fascinating and interesting. Although the United States was an entity by this time, large chunks of the landmass, such as Louisiana, were still controlled by foreign interests. Arnaud and Marie were interesting characters that the author did a superb job of developing and exploring in even such a short work. The idea of a nobleman marrying a chambermaid was an excellent one and Marie’s development from a servant to the mistress of the house, who was responsible for controlling slaves, was a highlight of the story. I found this book extremely readable and would highly recommend venturing on to the full series. I, for one, will be doing that.