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The Cards Don't Lie

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Three desperate but spirited women of New Orleans—a voodoo priestess, a plantation mistress who has out-of-body experiences, and a prostitute—forge a unique partnership in order to save their city from the British juggernaut. But their endeavors are compounded by secrets and sacrifices necessary for survival. 1814: It’s the third year of the United States second War of Ind Three desperate but spirited women of New Orleans—a voodoo priestess, a plantation mistress who has out-of-body experiences, and a prostitute—forge a unique partnership in order to save their city from the British juggernaut. But their endeavors are compounded by secrets and sacrifices necessary for survival. 1814: It’s the third year of the United States second War of Independence. The British are on the verge of capturing the strategically important port of New Orleans. In the midst of the Americans’ chaotic preparations for battle, three women play key roles in the defense of the city: Catherine, a free woman of color, voodoo priestess, and noted healer personally summoned by General Andrew Jackson; Marguerite, a pampered Creole plantation mistress prone to out-of-body experiences; and Millie, a plucky, patriotic prostitute inspired by her pirate lover to serve in the most dangerous capacity of all. These three women’s lives and fates become intertwined as they join forces to defend their country. Inspired by the contributions of real-life women during the Battle of New Orleans, The Cards Don’t Lie is a story of love, rebellion, intimacy, betrayal, and heroism in the face of terror and barbaric brutality.


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Three desperate but spirited women of New Orleans—a voodoo priestess, a plantation mistress who has out-of-body experiences, and a prostitute—forge a unique partnership in order to save their city from the British juggernaut. But their endeavors are compounded by secrets and sacrifices necessary for survival. 1814: It’s the third year of the United States second War of Ind Three desperate but spirited women of New Orleans—a voodoo priestess, a plantation mistress who has out-of-body experiences, and a prostitute—forge a unique partnership in order to save their city from the British juggernaut. But their endeavors are compounded by secrets and sacrifices necessary for survival. 1814: It’s the third year of the United States second War of Independence. The British are on the verge of capturing the strategically important port of New Orleans. In the midst of the Americans’ chaotic preparations for battle, three women play key roles in the defense of the city: Catherine, a free woman of color, voodoo priestess, and noted healer personally summoned by General Andrew Jackson; Marguerite, a pampered Creole plantation mistress prone to out-of-body experiences; and Millie, a plucky, patriotic prostitute inspired by her pirate lover to serve in the most dangerous capacity of all. These three women’s lives and fates become intertwined as they join forces to defend their country. Inspired by the contributions of real-life women during the Battle of New Orleans, The Cards Don’t Lie is a story of love, rebellion, intimacy, betrayal, and heroism in the face of terror and barbaric brutality.

44 review for The Cards Don't Lie

  1. 4 out of 5

    Gaele

    The synopsis would lead readers to think this is a story simply about the lives of three very different women who are trying to live, love and survive the dangers of war, and their interconnected paths. But this was so much more – with narrative voices of men attached to the women, the voices of soldiers on the battlefield, a young man press-ganged into the Royal Navy and rescued by Laffite’s men, slaves and free men of color serving under Andrew Jackson, as well as a young slave boy, a prostitu The synopsis would lead readers to think this is a story simply about the lives of three very different women who are trying to live, love and survive the dangers of war, and their interconnected paths. But this was so much more – with narrative voices of men attached to the women, the voices of soldiers on the battlefield, a young man press-ganged into the Royal Navy and rescued by Laffite’s men, slaves and free men of color serving under Andrew Jackson, as well as a young slave boy, a prostitute, a Creole woman married and desperate for a child, a free woman of color known for her healing powers and lastly, a sister of the Ursulines. Interconnected through ways unexpected, everything here starts with a childhood experience of Andrew Jackson, a gypsy fortune teller foretold of his big battle where the ‘trees had beards and soldiers of many languages would serve under him to victory”. Jackson’s dispatch to New Orleans by Madison to fight off the threat from Britain – a major shipping port and the most important and strategic stronghold to access sugar, cotton and other goods- all high value cargo while being highly desired goods. But Jackson’s arrival is simply one cog in the many wheels that are turning, as lives are lived, choices are made and love is lost and found. Catherine, a free woman of color is renown as a midwife and for her generous spirit. She’s raised her child to her own plaçage, (or Quadroon ball) where she will (hopefully) find a Creole man of means to protect and support her as his second family. Suzanne is besotted and falls instantly in love with René, and despite convention, marries him: his thoughts and beliefs having outgrown the system of his parents, or even Catherine, and Suzanne is utterly besotted and soon pregnant. But, despite Catherine’s worry for and her growing distance from Suzanne, her services and skills have been requested by two very different people: Andrew Jackson himself, the general ailing with dysentery and weight loss and Marguerite, the wife of Suzanne’s father from Catherine’s own plaçage some years earlier. Marguerite has suffered several miscarriages, and is also experiencing what can only be described as a series of psychotic breaks, out of body experiences, arguments with a disembodied voice, all which play on her own sorrow and perceived failings. Marguerite has come to Catherine for a potion to aid pregnancy, and now, with her time near, wants to avail herself of Catherine’s skills again to deliver her child. Lastly there is Millie, daughter of a prostitute and working in the only option left to her. A regular client and flirtation is had for her with Pete – a young man press-ganged into the Royal Navy and later escaping only to sign on with Laffite’s men as a privateer. A carpenter by trade, he and Millie have a special bond – he sees the woman without all the prejudices of her profession, answering questions and being surprised by her boldness: she’s prone to leaving the brothel in men’s clothing to wander the street and experience life in the city. She only wants to have a friend, and be a ‘normal woman’ in the city that would see her as neither. But, a gathering of the women of New Orleans to plan and prepare for the upcoming invasion and war with the British allows Millie, with help from Pete, to take part and do something useful – changing the impression of her and her future, giving her new opportunities unexpected, particularly after her work driving wounded and supplies from the battlefield to hospitals and homes throughout the city. One of her stalwart companions is Suzanne, befriending Millie when no one else would, and coming to trust her when things hit her personal rock bottom. A story of lives, consequences, choices and opportunities heretofore unknown, told in moments after and around battlefield moments that are unlike others I have ever read. Using actual history and people, accounts of the time and battles and not an unhealthy dose of imagination the story starts out disjointed, but soon the characters and their tales, their worries and growth take over and it is quickly engrossing. The sights, scents and attitudes of early 19th century New Orleans come clear – from privateers who fight to defend their city, the influence of the catholic church and the ‘gods of the ancestors’, prejudices, class and color lines and the ability of such disparate people coming together to protect their homes and way of life becomes a testament to the spirit of New Orleans. The one that still beats, somewhere, inside the city even today. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. Review first appeared at I am, Indeed

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    This is a well written, well researched historical fiction novel about a war that is rarely written about. Not only was it a great book to read but I also learned a lot about this time period and did some additional research after I finished the book. I love it when you read a great book that also teaches you more about history. The year is 1814 and the location is New Orleans. The second war of independence is taking place against the British and the British are fighting to gain control of New O This is a well written, well researched historical fiction novel about a war that is rarely written about. Not only was it a great book to read but I also learned a lot about this time period and did some additional research after I finished the book. I love it when you read a great book that also teaches you more about history. The year is 1814 and the location is New Orleans. The second war of independence is taking place against the British and the British are fighting to gain control of New Orleans as part of their plan to win against all of America. Some parts of the book are about the fighting and the men who fight but the most important characters are three very different females. Catherine is a free woman of color who is a healer and a midwife and a voodoo princess. Margeurite is the wife of a rich plantation owner. She has had several miscarriages and goes to Catherine for help getting pregnant and having a healthy baby. Millie is a prostitute who yearns to have another life but because she is the daughter of prostitute she knows that her choices are limited or non existent. These three woman couldn't be more different and they are all on very different social levels in the New Orleans society. When General Jackson and his army arrive in New Orleans to defend America against the British, the women's differences disappear as they all take part in helping the men injured in the battle. Not only are they compassionate and caring but all three of them have a husband or lover who is involved in the fighting. Will their love and sacrifices be enough to help not only the men that they love but also the city of New Orleans? I loved the three female characters in this novel. Even though they all knew their place in the society hierarchy of New Orleans during this time period, they were willing to step in and help where they could. They all showed love and compassion far beyond their roles of 'just women'. My favorite was Millie - she was the one who was the most unacceptable in society yet she let her love and compassion for others rule her life and was the bravest of the three women. If you enjoy historical fiction and books about strong women, this is a must read! Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Angelle Barbazon

    If the synopsis for this book isn't enough to pull you in, just look at that cover art - I love it! Lately I've been really enjoying women-centric narratives in fiction, so I had a good feeling The Cards Don't Lie by Sue Ingalls Finan would be right up my alley. And I was right! This book is beautifully written and seamlessly transports readers to the past with colorful characters and personalities, and you get to walk the streets of New Orleans with them! Read this book - NOW!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Suchors

    This book is so unusual in focusing not only on New Orleans, a city I love, but also on the Battle of New Orleans—and on women's roles in winning that battle. The women are marvelous! They're of different economic class, color, and background, yet they all play a part and, ultimately, work with each other. New Orleans is a city of many layers of culture, and this book taps into so many of them! The characterization of Old Hickory, Andrew Jackson, was delightful and I now better understand why the This book is so unusual in focusing not only on New Orleans, a city I love, but also on the Battle of New Orleans—and on women's roles in winning that battle. The women are marvelous! They're of different economic class, color, and background, yet they all play a part and, ultimately, work with each other. New Orleans is a city of many layers of culture, and this book taps into so many of them! The characterization of Old Hickory, Andrew Jackson, was delightful and I now better understand why the lovely Jackson Square is so named. The historical details really brought me into the time period and made the battle feel real, and dangerous. I kept turning pages as fast as my eyes could read!

  5. 5 out of 5

    JKS Communications

    Excuse me while I go find every book ever written about the Battle of New Orleans--but really, how did I not know how fascinating this period was? There are so many ideas to unpack in this book, and Finan does an amazing job of drawing you in and making you feel like you're really along for the ride. Even though the characters underwent so many struggles and tense moments, there was so much love woven throughout and the book ended on a hopeful note. I'm craving more, and I hope she writes anothe Excuse me while I go find every book ever written about the Battle of New Orleans--but really, how did I not know how fascinating this period was? There are so many ideas to unpack in this book, and Finan does an amazing job of drawing you in and making you feel like you're really along for the ride. Even though the characters underwent so many struggles and tense moments, there was so much love woven throughout and the book ended on a hopeful note. I'm craving more, and I hope she writes another soon!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lauren A.

    Sue Ingalls Finan gives a voice to diverse women in this book, which is what makes it so powerful and beautiful. I love historical fiction, but oftentimes find many books in the genre lacking in depth. "The Cards Don't Lie" not only gave me a front row seat to a fascinating period in America's history through Finan's vivid writing, it also allowed me into the lives of women of color and helped feel like I lived the story with them!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    I learned much about my new state's history in this darn good tale about the Battle of New Orleans. The strong and intelligent women at the heart of this book were the perfect accompaniment to the war passages. The author's well-written prose transported me effortlessly to the scene. It's the read for the historical fiction book group at the main Baton Rouge Library this month and I can't wait to see what the 'locals' think.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Marissa DeCuir

    I fell in love with the city of New Orleans with "The Cards Don't Lie," and with the characters! I couldn't put the book down, and when I had to, all I could think about was getting back to Catherine, Marguerite, and Millie. They were relatable and funny, and I grew very attached to them by the end of the book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I received this book from Edelweiss. The story was interesting but it was disjointed from too many narrators and points of view.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jean Norelli

  11. 4 out of 5

    Holly Harder

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brandy Luther

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sue Finan

  15. 4 out of 5

    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marci

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rhianna

  18. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  19. 4 out of 5

    viktoria

  20. 5 out of 5

    Erin

  21. 4 out of 5

    Patrice

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

  23. 4 out of 5

    Roberta

  24. 5 out of 5

    Magda Kossakowska

  25. 4 out of 5

    Christy Chabassol-Moynham

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mdg2810

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alice 🐺

  28. 4 out of 5

    Louetta Waters

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alexis Rosa

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jackie Mungle

  31. 4 out of 5

    Melanie Falconer

  32. 5 out of 5

    Christie Sitterly

  33. 5 out of 5

    Libby

  34. 4 out of 5

    Amy Dowell

  35. 5 out of 5

    Rina Horenian

  36. 4 out of 5

    Donna

  37. 4 out of 5

    Christa Seeley

  38. 4 out of 5

    Clarissa

  39. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah

  40. 5 out of 5

    Anne Line

  41. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Hernandez

  42. 5 out of 5

    Julia

  43. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  44. 5 out of 5

    DustyPages

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