Saturday, May 22, 2010

Voodoo Season by Jewell Parker Rhodes

voodooVoodoo Season by Jewell Parker Rhodes 2005 275 Pages 4/5 I found a book tent this year at Jazz Fest and knew that I had to go visit it. It was filled with nothing but New Orleans authors or authors who wrote about New Orleans. Yeah, I was like a kid in a candy shop. My eye was immediately drawn to the voodoo section as I've always found voodoo to just be fascinating...maybe it's because I live in the voodoo capital of the world, who knows. On the shelf was a book by an author I had never heard of, Jewell Parker Rhodes. She's an african american woman who seems to wrtie a lot about voodoo! Couldn't pass that up. Especially when I found a fictional account of the great granddaughter of Marie Laveau, Voodoo Season. Voodoo Season is a fascinating book. It's the story of a young doctor named Marie Levant who is doing her residency at Charity Hospital. Marie has always noticed that something was a little different with her....a little strange. She has a seemingly sixth sense. She knows things about people without knowing how she knows them, she takes in lovers that show such passion. But when one of those lovers turns up dead at her hospital, things take a turn. Not only has her lover turned up dead, but so are numerous young women. And they all have crosses on their heads. When Marie has an intuition that one of the girls is pregnant, she performs a C-Section and forms an instant attachment to the child. She wants it to be hers. She searches for the babies grandparents and in doing so falls into the world of voodoo. There's a myth that voodoo is an evil religion. It wasn't started that way and it's not an evil religion. But like all religion, there are those that use it for evil purposes. These are some of the people that Marie runs into as she begins to come into her own and begins to realize that Marie Levant, her own name, is a transformed version of Marie Laveau. She is a direct ancestor of Laveau and it is she that holds the ability to be the next voodoo queen. I feel like I'm doing a horrible job of describing this book, but take my word for's damn good. Jewell Parker Rhodes is another author that captures the essence of southern Louisiana perfectly. The city of New Orleans, the swamps further down south, the madness of Charity hospital, it's all there. She awakened a fascination with this part of the city that has lay dormant in me for a long while and I'm anxious to scoop up all of the information I can now on Marie Laveau. I'm also dying to read the rest of her books. The prequel to this one is Voodoo Dreams and is a telling of the tale of the actual Marie Laveau, a woman who is to this day still shrouded in mystery. There are also two sequels to this book that further the storie of Marie Levant. The only slight problem I had with this book was the ending. I was happy with the way it ended but it felt so rushed. I don't know if she was given a page limit by the publisher or what, but it would've been much better I think if it had been a longer novel. Everything seemed to happy to quickly and a little too conveniently at the end, but that's ok I guess :p The scenes of Marie performing her voodoo rituals for the first time more than make up for that. Read it!

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