Decision and Destiny
Avon, Apr 7 2009, $13.99
By 1837, the dysfunctional Duvoisins family struggles with inner turmoil since the death of the patriarch Frederic’s second wife frail Colette. Her twin daughters born in 1828 Yvette and Jeannette struggle with their mom’s death and the almost immediate third marriage of their father to his late first wife’s sister Agatha. Jeannette is especially hurting as she is closer in temperament to her mom than the somewhat wild Yvette. Their governess nineteen year old Charmaine Ryan has helped them adapt to their wicked stepmother as she protects them as best she can especially the youngest infant Pierre from Agatha’s abusive anger.
However, Frederic has withdrawn while his two oldest sons, both born in 1808, the illegitimate Virginian Paul and his heir from his first wife John argue over business, family, and Charmaine. With treachery from within leading to tragedy, the Duvoisins family, already split due to the late Colette’s ties to father and son, seems on the verge of total destruction; only Charmaine is the one person who might save them from themselves, but she is pulled between the two oldest sons.
The second Duvoisins historical saga (see AN OCEAN AWAY) is a terrific entry that uses humor and innocent events like a picnic or horse riding to somewhat defuse the overwhelming family strife. The story line is character driven with the ensemble cast coming across as fully developed especially their differing passions to include loathing. More of what caused the schism is revealed as the writing team of DeVa Gantt provides an interesting middle tale; however though newcomers will enjoy aptly titled DECISION AND DESTINY, they will relish the dynamic interrelationships and rivalries much more if they read the first novel.