At First Light by Vanessa Lafaye

Review published on May 12, 2017.

At First Light by Vanessa Lafaye is an interesting read based on the true story of Angela, a brothel keeper, and her lover, Manuel Cabeza. It is set in Key Westm with two parallel times in history being written about. The actions of Alicia’s parents sending her away to her aunt and the consequences that follow set the scene for a tale of turmoil and racism as was common back in the early 20th century. The Ku Klux Klan arrive in town and set about cleansing the area of anyone they feel to be doing wrong in their eyes, including Alicia who is “brown” skinned and her lover John Morales, a war veteran who is doing wrong just by being with her outside a brothel.

Dwayne Campbell has a dominant father who is also heavily involved in the Ku Klux Klan movement and tried to involve his son in order to make him into a man. Dwayne is torn between obeying his father, who can be violent, and warning the girl he is obsessed with – Alicia Cortez.

As the story develops, the details of John’s experiences during the war and how it has affected him come to light, making him more vulnerable. Alicia meanwhile, being an astute businesswoman, develops the brothel business, making it successful and better for her girls and the people frequenting the place.

This is an exciting read with an unexpected twist, great descriptions of the way the Ku Klux Klan operated and the fear surrounding them. I was totally absorbed and will keep an eye out for the next novel by Vanessa Lafaye.

Glenda Worth 5/5

At First Light by Vanessa Lafaye
Orion 9781409155423 hbk Jun 2017


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