"How I love the night! My family's house, like others in the French sector of New Orleans, is tall and narrow, walled and gated, its beauty hidden from any passersby. And I am hidden, too . . . Only at night may I slip out, unchaperoned, onto the balcony overlooking the street and glimpse the world beyond the iron railing."
Romance and suspense combine at an 1874 Mardi Gras ball when fifteen-year-old Juliette Carondel meets her forbidden love, Union Private Roland Montgomery. Juliette's narrative of her dangerous courtship weaves details of ballroom, wedding, and burial customs with a touch of voodoo, as Juliette defies her family's prejudices and finds a way to live for love, not die for it.
Available from Top Publications, Ltd. www.toppub.com
Cover design by Robin Carter, based on photo by Verlyn Bounds
"Juliette Ascending is a powerful story that reinforces our faith in fiction.
Stimulating scenes and visual images bring to life the aristocracy of New Orleans in the days
following the Civil War. A war that freed the slaves, but not the women.
This is a story every teenage girl should read. A story about realizations, choices, and the
necessity of being true to one's self.
Rosemary Poole-Carter writes in a literary style all her own, weaving in the rich visual elements of
Gone With the Wind with the suspense and horror of Edgar Allen Poe. Juliette Ascending is a
thought-provoking novel written by a sensitive and highly skilled author. "
- Diana L. Driver, author of Ninth Lord of the Night
" Like the baskets of jasmine that decorate the French Quarter in old New Orleans,
Rosemary Poole-Carter's book is rich and heady. As she brings one of the world's favorite love stories
to vibrant, aching life in this compelling setting, readers will be swept away. "
- Louise Hawes, author of The Vanishing Point and Rosey in the Present Tense
The Historical Novels Review - review by Dana Cohlmeyer "Southern gothic . . . angst, passion and will . . ."
Set among New Orleans’ Creole elite after the Civil War, Juliette Ascending opens with fifteen-year-old Juliette Carondel lurking on a darkened balcony, peering into a dark night in the French Quarter, and tells her story of the days leading up to and just after her first Mardi Gras ball. Of course Juliette meets a Union soldier and falls madly in love. And, of course, her parents have other plans for her future. Having led the cloistered life of a privileged Creole child, she struggles to make sense of her blossoming and finds her beliefs shaken as she witnesses a murder.
True to form, this novel blends New Orleans’ finest elements—strict tradition, voodoo, and steamy Southern nights—into the mold of Southern gothic nearly at its best. Readers can’t miss the shadow of Romeo and Juliet hanging heavy over this young adult book; at the same time they can’t fail to be drawn into the lush, slightly sinister mood of Juliette Ascending. Dripping with teenage angst, passion and will, this book has more than enough going for it to pull in readers well past the dew of youth!
Reader Views - Review by Paige Lovitt ". . . wonderful story . . . a must read"
Poor Juliette, her father has made arrangements to marry her off to a cruel-hearted man whom she detests. She longs to have a true love in her life. One night she meets Roland who is a private for the northern army. Her family would never allow her to be with a soldier from the north. She must marry someone with whom they can profit. She feels like she is being sold.
On the night that she first meets Roland, Juliette falls in love head-over-heels. Juliette sneaks out and secretly marries him. Tragedy strikes and Roland is further despised by her family. Now there is no chance for her family ever to accept him. Taking advantage of the situation, Juliette’s intended moves up the wedding date. Already being married, Juliette has to take drastic actions to prevent this from occurring. In the end, true love prevails.
“Juliette Ascending” is a wonderful story. I read it in a single sitting. Juliette has to grow up quickly in this story. The times are rough for soft-hearted people, especially in New Orleans. Racism and prejudice prevail. Social status seems to matter more than honesty and integrity. Women do not have many rights. All of these factors play into the drama in this story. Juliette has to discover how strong of a woman she truly is.
“Juliette Ascending” is a must read. It is such a good story. I highly recommend it to women’s readers groups. It is less than 200 pages, so it would be perfect for someone who needs a fictional escape. I promise you, you will not be disappointed.
Molly’s Reviews - review by Molly Martin ". . . unfurls as a rose; one petal at a time."
Nostalgic Read … Recommended … 4 stars
In old New Orleans the years following the War Between the States have wrought changes never considered a decade before. We come across Juliette standing on the balcony of her home in the French Quarter. Homes in the Quarter are tall, narrow, walled and gated. Tomorrow night will be Juliette’s first ball. Despite Federal troops continuing to occupy and govern the city, Carnival has returned. As a surprise, using yards and yards of blue silk and a silvery voile to drape the shoulders, Grandmere has made Juliette her first ball gown. Standing in the shadows Juliette overhears her aunties and her grandmother discussing the ball, her gown and Pierre Revon. Maman assures Grandmere and the Tantes that Juliette will do her duty. ‘I will tell her where her affections must lie.’
Dancing lessons, acting the part of mannequin to display jewelry Papa has to sell, a walk with Matilde, Juliette’s old nurse, Juliette, only a tiny girl less than six years old at the time of the war cannot remember when the town was not occupied by yankee soldiers. She has grown up hearing stories of ‘Beast Butler’ and his misconduct toward the citizens of New Orleans. A visit to the pharmacy to pick up items on the list Matilde carries from home, Grandmere has written each item and even underlined carmine three times. Maman and the pharmacist both consult Matilde for the same reason; her knowledge of voodoo. Monsieur Longet allows his customers to order potions from him rather than their having to call on a voodoo priestess.
A chance meeting in the garden behind Monsieur Longet’s pharmacy sets in play an unexpected circumstance that will have a surprising effect upon Juliette. Papa has been asked for Juliette’s hand in marriage, and he has consented. Juliette has yet to meet the man doing the asking. And, Juliette’s life moves inexorably forward.
Throbbing with post War detail every page of Juliette Ascending is a ablaze with the ambiance of Old South New Orleans. The French Quarter, Creole ladies and tradition slamming hard against the new reality are brought together in a work rich in sensual idiom, elegant standards and a romance against all odds. The tale unfurls as a rose; one petal at a time.
Writer Poole-Carter’s command of language is keen, her characters are charming, well defined and compelling. Settings portrayed in rich detail draw the reader into them. Interest is held from the opening lines as we stand with Juliette on her balcony, follow her on the dance floor with the man Papa has bartered her betrothal and continues when we finally join Juliette as she marries and in happiness begins a life of her own.
Juliette Ascending is a good choice for a long lazy afternoon spent in the porch swing reading, a tall glass of sweet tea nearby and the sound of bees buzzing in the mimosa and nearby jasmine.
A nice addition to the personal pleasure reading collection, Juliette Ascending has a place in the school and public library and for use as a tuck-in nicety in a gift basket prepared for a favorite sister or auntie.
Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.