Most of the reviews that I have been doing are for books from my Book Club peers at Random Readers. They are usually works from fairly well established, traditionally published authors who have been writing for years. I don’t think that I have had the pleasure of reviewing a new Indie Author yet, but it was a pleasure to read and review the literary work of Sarah Cradit!
St. Charles at Dusk, the first book in The House of Crimson and Clover series, is a compelling and engaging story of young love set in the charm and beauty that is the seductive city of New Orleans, surrounded by the mystery of Louisiana swampland. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for good Southern Fiction or romance that is constructed with real substance. I have lived in the Deep South most all of my long life, visited New Orleans and the surrounding area frequently, and Sarah Cradit’s descriptions are near perfection. The novel made feel as if I had taken another extended visit, only this time I knew people intimately and wasn’t a tourist.
The techniques of multiple points of view and analepsis are very intelligently and effectively used by the author. Cradit employs analepsis, and pensieve in some instances (flashbacks), in a manner that provides crucial backstory and slows the story down in a good way so that each individual piece of it can be savored. I really enjoyed the ebb and flow. The story was spiced with just enough individual history to give the characters a most genuine space and depth of their own but not so much as to cause this reader to lose focus on the story line. These instances were always notated with the date and the ages of the characters. The characters are very well developed from the use of MPOV. You come to understand their emotions and their behaviors deeply, their internal and external conflicts.
Cradit writes with a stream of consciousness style that turns the literary work into a story telling experience. She is able to capture both your senses and your soul with her words. The plot starts off slow and rather common. Cradit makes up for that with a fantastically convoluted and multi-layered story rich in thought and design. The novel is suspenseful and holds its anagnorisis til the very end. The Sullivans, the Deschanels, and even the Fontaines become real, believable, and traditional Southern families in a novel you will long remember. St. Charles at Dusk was a delightful read and I look forward to Sarah Cradit’s next publication. I would easily give her five stars out of five!