The Caribbean -#desertislandreads – Island of the Red Mangroves – Sarah Lark


Why a booktrail?

The follow up to Island of 1000 Springs revealing that the paradise islands of Jamaica and Saint Domingue might not be all that they seem

Story in a nutshell

Jamaica, 1753

Deirdre lives a rather sheltered life on her family’s plantation. She is the daughter of Nora Fortnam who we met in Island of 1000 Springs. Deidre has had somewhat of a scandalous start i life but she takes it all in her stride and is still as popular as the other girls although she seems disinterested.

When she comes across Victor Dufresne, a young doctor who asks for her hand in marriage, things change. They marry and set off to 

Saint-Domingue on the island of Hispaniola, where Deirdre can live without the burden of her mixed background. But what happens there changes everything …

Place and setting

Cayman Islands - Grand Cayman Where the novel opens Jamaica - Kingston Although Spanish Town is the capital, Kingston was becoming increasingly important, undoubtedly because of the port Cap Francais/Cap Haitien The plantage Nouveau Brissac and Plantage Roche aux Brumes are located near here.
Cayman Islands – Grand Cayman
Where the novel opens
Jamaica – Kingston
Although Spanish Town is the capital, Kingston was becoming increasingly important, undoubtedly because of the port
Cap Francais/Cap Haitien
The plantage Nouveau Brissac and Plantage Roche aux Brumes are located near here.

Think the Caribbean is paradise on earth? Think again.

The island of the Red Mangroves transports you from the British colony of Jamaica in the first book to Haiti or what was then the French colony of Hispaniola and the city of Cap Francais.


Dierdre Fortson, despite her scandalous start in life grows up to share her mother’s horror at the conditions and treatment that the slaves on the island are forced to endure day in day out.

These are the days where slavery was rife. Where the Maroons, a group of escaped slaves would soon work to infiltrate and free those living on the plantations.

These plantations were a mix of rich luxurious homes beside the ugly reality of the slave quarters where life was tough and every day tougher than the one before. Marriage to a man who owns one of the largest plantations in Hispaniola in the Caribbean, causes the secret from Deirdre’s past to come and haunt her future.


Cap-Francais/Cap Haitien,

The Haiti  Deidre and Victor come to after their wedding and the tension between then regarding the treatment of slaves escalates. Cap Francais is a town where the relationship between slaves and plantation owners was set out in a French Code Noir, where pirate ships roamed the high seas, and where history shames us all.

….not all whites in Hispaniola burned their slaves

This is the place where the freedom fighting by the Maroons of Hispaniola is evoked with passion, grit and a heavy dose of reality. The freedom fighter Francois Macandal is known as the Black Messiah and together with the others, they are set on claiming back the island and terrorizing the white plantation owners. Things get very ugly and bloody indeed.

The atmosphere in Haiti becomes unbearable  and the subject of slavery and all that it entailed, and the social upheaval it resulted in, is painstakingly evoked.

We will drive the whites out of Hispaniola!

That Francois Macandal is gathering an army, and that all of the slaves in Hispaniola would eventually join their cause.

This was a difficult time for all and the story gives a unique view of the dark side of paradise.


A trip to the Beach – The island of Anguilla – Melinda and Robert Blanchard


Why a booktrail?

Have you ever wanted to just escape it all and open up a cafe in paradise? Eating and enjoying the good life? Step this way on to the beach…

Story in a seashell

We’ll all probably thought about it at some point – escaping to an island paradise and live the high life. Maybe set up a business and live there far away from the rat race.

That’s exactly what Bob and Melinda Blanchard did when they moved from their lives and food business in Vermont and moved to Anguilla in the Caribbean. Opening up a food bar then turns into a restaurant and a life neither of them could have imagined. But then comes Hurricane Luis, and their dreams risk being destroyed.

Should paradise be such a challenge and what can they do now?

Place and setting


Welcome to Anguilla (rhymes with vanilla) in the Caribbean. Now you see, it sounds and smells nice already and that’s before the adventure really begins..

*Blanchards Beach Shack The ‘shack’ behind the story
*Blanchards Beach Shack
The ‘shack’ behind the story

Life in Vermont is good but it’s when they’re on a holiday in the Caribbean that they stumble along a shack on the beach  and think of the nice way of life they could have here. They stumble upon a shack and their reaction?

Tempting right? So, leaving behind the concrete jungle of Vermont, the island of Anguilla is out of this world. The white sandy beaches, the palm trees and the perfect weather for outdoor cooking and open air eating.

Adapting to the slower pace of life and the new and quirky island charms, life is one long day by the grill, the ‘music’ of fishing boats in the background and the essence of the ocean.

But creating and building a restaurant  is just as difficult in paradise than it is anywhere else. Red tape, customs problems, delivery issues (oh the distances involved!)

We forced ourselves to concentrate – to work in a spot where the rest of the world comes to play

But the funny and hardworking staff make it all worth while. Even the way they speak, captured via the sing-song dialogue create an ambience that draws you right in. That’s if Shabby doesn’t with his ‘octopus arms’

Oh but the food – centre of the table at all times-

What about some Grilled Tuna With Coconut Rice Cakes? Maybe some banana bread and would you dare to try the strangely named Crisp Tai Snapper?

When the hurricane comes, life changes but the spirit and determination of Bob and Mel does not. The  spirit of the Caribbean and its people immerse you in another world.