(What’s Third Sentence Thursday? Open the book you’re currently reading to a random page and copy the third complete sentence. Add a brief teaser about the book. There. You’ve finished another post.)
p. 129: “If, thought January, Olympe were not a voodoo.”
In New Orleans of 1834, voodoo matters. So do race and money and yellow fever and many other things; but voodoo is important, a source of solace and power and fear to various people.
Benjamin January – or Janvier, depending on what language he’s using – would tell you that he’s a good Catholic, who doesn’t believe in magic or in voodoo. January is also a physician, a classically trained pianist, a widower, and a free man of color, who has returned to his home city and country from Paris, after his wife died of cholera. New Orleans is more dangerous than Paris; but all the family he has left is here.
And now his sister Olympe, who supports her family partly with her earnings as a voodooienne, has been accused of murdering a young man by magic, or poison – does anyone really care which? – and January is struggling to save her from hanging. And to get her out of jail fast, before the yellow fever that’s killing prisoners – even though the city government insists it doesn’t exist – can catch up with her.