I’m pleased to announce the launch of my first novel, Forbidden. The story is set in the Caribbean on the fictional French-Creole island of Saint Helen. It unfolds in the aftermath of the slave revolt in Haiti. As word of the uprising sweeps across the West Indies, France is caught off guard by another violent rebellion in its colony Saint Helen. The upheaval pits the slaves against the planters and plunges the colony into a racial war that keeps blacks and whites divided long after Emancipation.
Born into this deeply polarized community where your status is determined by the colour of your skin, Christian Joseph, a mulatto, finds favour because of his complexion and the fact that he was bought up by priests. He is quite proud of his European heredity and Catholic upbringing.
His world is turned upside down when he discovers that he was born out of wedlock. To his dismay, he also discovers that his father, heir to the island’s most renowned sugar plantation, has died and left his entire estate to Christian’s mother – a poor black girl. This causes disbelief and outrage among many in the community, including the priests. It forces Christian to return to the village of his birth to try and uncover the secrets of his past.
Forbidden tackles the sensitive issues of race and religion in the context of a multi-ethnic Caribbean community where the legacy of slavery and centuries of racial programming have caused the residents to subscribe to the ideal of colourism; the preference for lighter skin tones, and the tendency to regard fair-skinned people as superior.
Moreover, Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion on the island and under its influence the people have come to regard God and all things divine as having a European origin.
Forbidden examines how religion has contributed to this world view and looks at the Church’s role in helping to shape the residents’ self image and their sense of self worth.
The book was self published. In this post I explain why I decided to go it alone rather than wait forever to be discovered by a publisher.