It’s just two months after “the Storm” hit New Orleans, and the devastation is thorough and widespread. But residents who love their city are starting to trickle back into town to try to pick up the pieces and start the long, slow process of rebuilding. Two of these residents are Adele and her father, who live in the French Quarter in a very old building that’s long survived storms and fires. During the aftermath of the hurricane, Adele had been shipped off to live with her mother in France, who left years earlier and is practically a stranger, and she’s eager to get back home, though sad to see so much loss and ruin.
Adele and her dad are relatively blessed: their home still stands, they have a generator, they can clean up and live there. Many do not, so the city is largely empty. A few of their neighborhood’s characters are back (and they are truly characters, fun to read about, such as the kind of flamboyant tour guide with a flair for storytelling and the family of voodoo practitioners that end up playing a larger role in Adele’s life). Some outsiders have also come to New Orleans: some are part of groups helping to rebuild (which ostensibly includes one young man named Isaac who takes an interest in Adele right away), and a couple of gorgeous Italian brothers are there trying to find lost family members.
As Adele helps her dad clean and reclaim their house, she has a few normal-teen issues to deal with: missing her best friend (who’s in California), being attracted to one of the good-looking Italians, and being dismayed at learning her father has signed her up to attend the snooty Catholic school because her arts school is still closed.
But bigger (and not-so-normal) problems follow: supernatural creatures start killing people in the old city, and it’s possible she’s at least partly responsible for it. Adele starts looking into her past, discovering some secrets that involve her own heritage, and realizes she must do something to stop the carnage. But it could cost her not only those she loves but her very life. (I don’t want to go into too much detail about what kind of creatures and what happens because I don’t want to spoil how the story unfolds, but it’s entertaining and kept me on the edge of my seat.)
The Casquette Girls is an engaging story that’s rich in historical detail and has a lush setting. Readers who love magic and the supernatural will particularly eat up this well-written novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to more.
Rated: Moderate, for occasional mild and moderate language, violence and talk of blood, and mild sexual references.