Snow on the Bayou by Sandra Hill is a rare gem, and my first Tante Lulu adventure. I was surprised to know that this is the ninth book in the series. A big plus in the book’s favor is that it did not leave me guessing about what came before, as sometimes happens in later books in a series. There is something mysterious about the bayou, and I love books set in Louisiana. Readers of this blog will remember my reviews of Louisiana Longshot, Queen Sugar, False Pretenses and Southern Rapture, all set in bayou country or around it.
Snow on the Bayou has a well developed plot, action, romance, humor and strong characterization. Some of the characters are a bit ‘crazy’ or out there, and that is the charm of the book.
Justin Le Blanc or Cage (for Cajun) is a decorated Navy SEAL living in California. He comes from a small place near New Orleans called Black Bayou. His past is turbulent and after 17 years away, he thinks he is rid of it.
Emily Gaudet has made a life in New Orleans. She makes Mardi Gras masks and has a tenuous relationship with her tyrant father. She desperately wants a child in her life, and is taking matters in her own hands.
Mary Mae Le Blanc lives alone in her old house on the bayou and has very few days to live. Tante Lulu or Louise Rivard, her 90+ friend wants her grandson to visit. Lulu insists on being meddlesome and heads to California to bring Justin home. Justin has mixed feelings about going back to the bayou, but he puts them aside when he sees how ill his MawMaw is.
A few SEALS follow Justin into town, pushing up the mercury. Justin and Emily come across each other and the past comes rushing in. They have unfinished business, and a chemistry that hasn’t been dampened after 17 years apart. You will have to read the book to find out more.
Snow on The Bayou will wring every kind of emotion out of you. You will laugh until you cry when you read about Tante Lulu’s outlandish costumes and crazy schemes, go into raptures reading the bayou slang or dialect, tear up along with Emily, bite your nails with tension, feel nostalgic as Justin woos Emily, and get a lump in your throat as MawMaw’s condition worsens. Justin’s SEAL buddies are unique, so is chic bimbo Charmaine.
Justin and Emily will each have to confront unpleasant memories and put away the past before they can move forward. It is interesting to note how Justin or Cage slips into a Cajun accent more and more as the book progresses. I just wonder why Cage isn’t spelled Caje if it is supposed to stand for Cajun?
Snow on the Bayou is a wild ride. I am glad I have found another series set in the South, and this is my new favorite right along with books by Mary Kay Andrews.
Check out all of Sandra Hill’s Tante Lulu books on Amazon!