3 out of 4 stars
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Deceitful Survival, by LC Lee, follows the life journey of Beth, who was born and raised in Brittany. As a teenager, she lost her parents, and her brothers made her move into Aunt Simone's home. They wanted her to stay there until she got married. Aunt Simone was their father's sister, and being a hard taskmaster, she set Beth to work straightaway. After being starved and treated like a slave for almost a year, Beth packed her few belongings and left Aunt Simone's place.
Having little formal schooling and without a home, Beth sent a letter of inquiry about becoming a nun to the Reverend Mother in the Ursuline Convent in Rouen, after much persuasion from her friends. Later on, Beth was renamed Sister Mary Andree La roux and allowed to take her temporary and final vows. Afterwards, she was sent to Haiti, where she met Father René, and as she was about to settle into her new life, unexpected events started unfolding. She and René got faced with the temptation of breaking their religious vows.
Based on a true story, Deceitful Survival has an intriguing plotline, and using historical events and real places, the author succeeded in providing an entertaining and a thought-provoking tale. The beginning is a bit sketchy, but from the middle, the narration becomes thorough. Nonetheless, if you're seeking an action-packed historical fiction novel, this is not it. Exploring the themes of love and family, this narrative has few action scenes, but it has some intriguing twists and turns. I enjoyed reading every page.
The book has the right balance of descriptions and dialogues. Lee described the characters very well, enough for a reader to relate to them. They are so vivid, especially the protagonists, Beth and René, who are calm and resilient. Beth is a determined woman, with great love for her family. Somewhere in the story, she had to do something out of the ordinary to get her family back together. Miguel, Beth's son, is a strong young man, proving that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Overall, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I didn't rate it lower because it's interesting. It's a well-structured novel. Again, I couldn't rate it higher because it consists of some grammatical and typographical errors, such as "The Vodun dragged in her in as she screamed for James..." and "The intruders were large men that and approached the camp in a rush." It requires a second round of editing, and I recommend it to readers who enjoy reading historical fiction books involving politics, love, and romance.
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