Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Author: Charles E. Patton
CreateSpace, 2010
254 pages

I came across this book while doing some genealogy research and decided to buy it for my family. It's a fictionalized account of one of our ancestors who made the trek across the pond from France in the late eighteenth century, and attempts to answer a question I've had ever since I first learned about this ancestor: Of all places, why did he choose to settle in a remote area of southeastern North Carolina . . . instead of New Orleans? Or Montreal?

Jean Formy was a physician in the Normandy region of France. He was married to a woman named Jeanne Duval whose family had some sort of connection to the royal family such that she was referred to as The Princess. During the Reign of Terror, circumstances (I won't reveal details here because that's part of what makes this story so interesting) caused the family to flee the country for the French colony of Saint-Domingue (modern-day Haiti) where they would soon be forced to flee again as a result of the Haitian Revolution.

I'm pleased that the author painted a picture of my ancestor that made him seem like a good guy despite the weirdness of the times and the numerous challenges he faced. It's a quick read; I read it in about two hours. Like many self-published books, it could use an editor. But I can forgive this, because as a self-published author myself, I know that the reason people write is because they have a story to tell.

And this is a pretty cool story.