Most helpful positive review
New Orleans, money, and voodoo
on March 4, 2004
Just in time for the Halloween "holiday" celebrated by real and replica ghosts, witches, and goblins, an old story of New Orlean's most renowned Voodooienne, Marie Laveau is a perfect read. Rhodes takes great detail to write a historical sketch on the lives of three generations of Voodoo Queens; Grandmere`, Maman, and finally Marie. All three women are named Marie, but the most revered of them is the last one born. The money hungry and foul tempered John and Marie's sweetheart of a husband, Jacque, serve as love interests to add an interesting twist to the storyline once Marie answers the call of Damballah, the ultimate god in the African spirit world who would only possess the body of a voodoo priestess. Characters like Ziti, Nattie, Bridgette, Louis and Ribauld add spice to the mix of the story line as the reader delves into Marie's life story from childhood to the end of her long "career" as a spiritual healer/vessel for African spirits.
Though the book may appear daunting in length, once I opened up the book, Rhodes weaved a spell on me from start to finish by making me wonder where the history ended and where the fiction began in this book. There are so many mysteries surrounding Marie Laveau's life that I was pleased to have a few questions answered and simultaneously be schooled on some of the history of the religion brought over from the African American homeland. Was/is voodoo just a way for blacks to make money by praying on the hopes of those who believed in voodoo's "dark powers" during a time period when job opportunities were scarce for freed blacks in the late 19th century? Exactly how long did Marie live? These were just a few of the questions that I wanted answered when I picked up this book ... and in the true nature of this mysterious religion, I was given just enough information to whet my appetite as I flipped from page to page looking for more answers.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is as enthralled as I am with the history of the city full of spirits, mysteries, and an American history that could rival the Egyptian hieroglyphics in its complexity. Looking for more than just a good book to read at the beach? Pick this one up. Faint of heart or a scaredy cat of this highly notorious religion? Read the book anyway. You just might be surprised at how much fear can be dispelled by learning what the "unknown" is all about.