Necessary Sins by Elizabeth Bell
Publication Date: August 7, 2019
eBook & Paperback; 490 Pages
Series: Lazare Family Saga, Book 1
Genre: Historical Fiction
In antebellum Charleston, a Catholic priest grapples with doubt, his family’s secret African ancestry, and his love for a slave owner’s wife.
Joseph Lazare and his two sisters grow up believing their black hair and olive skin come from a Spanish grandmother—until the summer they learn she was an African slave. While his sisters make very different choices, Joseph struggles to transcend the flesh by becoming a celibate priest.
Then young Father Joseph meets Tessa Conley, a devout Irish immigrant who shares his passions for music and botany. Joseph must conceal his true feelings as Tessa marries another man—a plantation owner who treats her like property. Acting on their love for each other will ruin Joseph and Tessa in this world and damn them in the next.
Or will it?
Necessary Sins is the first book in the sweeping Lazare Family Saga that transports readers from the West Indies to the Wild West, from Charleston, Paris, and Rome into the depths of the human heart. Passion, prejudice, secrets, and a mother’s desperate choice in the chaos of revolution echo through five generations. If you enjoyed The Thorn Birds or the novels of Sara Donati, dive into Elizabeth Bell’s epic historical fiction today.
REVIEW BY COFFEE AND INK:
First off, I’m touched the author dedicated her novel to one of the Great Queens of historical fiction. I won’t say who, as discovery is half the fun.
The Lazare family saga begins in the early 1700s in Sainte-Domingue, on a plantation with the horrible Marguerite, a character one loves to hate. From there, through violent rebellion against the cruelty of the European masters, the aftermath, and on to South Carolina. Marguerite brings her grandchild with her to America, into the French Catholic society at the heart of Charleston. The child grows up, becomes a doctor, and starts his own family. Gradually the old way of thinking, Marguerite’s way, begins to fade away. But when secrets make their way into the fabric of daily life, will they have the power to destroy or heal?
Elizabeth Bell has written a vivid, immersive novel I could not put down. The setting is as well-imagined as the characters, and I felt captivated by the time and place.
Complicated human hearts and minds struggle to come to terms with their choices and the consequences of making the wrong one. I usually have trouble reading overly religious characters, but I found the author’s style engaging and loved the epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter. Catholicism is a harsh taskmaster but there are some beautiful sentiments buried in the eternal doom and gloom, reflected in this novel.
And the lesson of Necessary Sins is…no, sorry, you’ll have to read it. I’m very much looking forward to reading more of this series.
“A feast of a novel by an extraordinary new voice. Haunting, meticulously researched, and exquisitely told through characters so human you’d swear they have beating hearts.” — KATHLEEN GRISSOM, New York Times bestselling author of The Kitchen House
“From the ashes of rebellion to heart-rending forbidden love, Necessary Sins is a work of art. Bell’s voice is a refreshing addition to the genre, and the breadth of her research is impressive. A strong start to a promising series.” — Jessica Cale, bestselling author of Tyburn
“A taut, compelling family drama with a fresh and intriguing setting. Necessary Sins will be a welcome read for fans of historical fiction.” — Olivia Hawker, internationally bestselling author of The Ragged Edge of Night
“A gripping family saga with complex characters, Necessary Sins is lushly detailed and beautifully written. I look forward to following the fortunes of this antebellum family in future volumes.” — Susan Higginbotham, author of The First Lady and the Rebel
“In antebellum South Carolina young Joseph Lazare discovers a secret that would ruin his family. Driven to atone, he becomes a priest, only to fall in love with a married woman. In this carefully researched historical novel Bell examines the way race, religion and class weave a web that Joseph may never escape. A thoughtful, vividly imagined and engrossing historical novel, highly recommended.” — Sara Donati, internationally bestselling author of The Gilded Hour
About the Author
Elizabeth Bell has been writing stories since the second grade. At the age of fourteen, she chose a pen name and vowed to become a published author. That same year, she began the Lazare Family Saga. It took her a couple of decades to get it right. New generations kept demanding attention, and the saga became four epic novels.
After earning her MFA in Creative Writing at George Mason University, Elizabeth realized she would have to return her two hundred library books. Instead, she cleverly found a job in the university library. She works there to this day.
Elizabeth is an active member of the Historical Novel Society, and she loves chatting with fellow readers, writers, and history buffs. Visit her at elizabethbellauthor.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, BookBub, and Goodreads.
Blog Tour Schedule
Wednesday, August 4
Review at The Cozy Book Blog
Friday, August 6
Review at The Enchanted Shelf
Monday, August 9
Review at Rajiv’s Reviews
Wednesday, August 11
Interview at Books, Tiaras, and Lattes
Friday, August 13
Review at Coffee and Ink
Monday, August 16
Review at Passages to the Past
Friday, August 20
Review at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, August 25
Review at Robin Loves Reading