Not exactly Santa Claus, but close enough.
Joseph Courtemanche has recently released a beautiful book that combines so many themes that are near and dear to me. It is titled Nicholas of Haiti and is available at Amazon in paperback and kindle. There is also an audiobook featuring the author’s own voice.
What I Love About Nicholas of Haiti
There are three specific things I love about this book.
- A major plot theme is human trafficking. My first novel, The Little Girl Waits, is set against the problem of child sex-trafficking, and as such it shares a kinship with Nicholas of Haiti. Slavery still exists in the world, and this book wants you to do something about it.
- I enjoyed the action scenes. This is not a spy novel or a thriller per se, but it definitely has one or two Ethan Hunt moments. Those are some of my favorite moments.
- The setting of Haiti intrigued me. I have never been there, but the book is so immediate that I FEEL like I have walked through Cite Soleil or talked to the orphans at Titanyen. Specifically, I liked the behind-the-velvet-curtain feel of the missionary work in Haiti.
There is lots more good stuff. Courtemanche obviously enjoys the simile comparison, and some are real howlers. I noted the one found on page 70, “Nick dove down into the narrow space between the door and the bank, the violent flow of water battering him against the wreckage like an angry bully interrupted while mugging an old woman.” I am not sure what an interrupted angry bully is like, but man, that is some kind of sentence. In the context of the whole scene, it is extraordinary. I also liked the discussion questions at the end of the book, which could be useful in a book club. I liked the building of secondary characters and even tertiary characters. There is one particularly delightful scene that, at first read, doesn’t further the story, but that is a wrong impression. The scene involves an elegant French restaurant in the middle of a shanty town. Those characters, and that scene, give the story depth and life beyond the rat-a-tat of action and adventure which makes a book about amazing and unreal things feel actual.
What You Will Love About Nicholas of Haiti
I think you will love at least two aspects of this book.
- You will love the transformational nature of the main character. Nicholas Bacon changes dramatically from start to finish.
- You will love the little girl, Violene. She will stay with you after you’ve forgotten about Nicholas.
Who Will Not Love Nicholas of Haiti
Some people will not love this book, and the is okay. Everything is not for everyone. I don’t think you will like this book if :
- You don’t like supernatural stories. Nicholas of Haiti has supernatural elements and things which are ‘impossible’ in the strict sense of the word. If that kind of action bothers you, then, perhaps, you should read something else.
- If you like Amish love stories, don’t even think about reading this book.
- People who get annoyed when church people or Christian people don’t behave in the ‘stereotypical way’ might not appreciate certain parts of this book.
- People who have an anti-catholic bias might not like this book, either.
Those things aside, I recommend Nicholas of Haiti–if for no other reason it offers a different kind of Santa Claus.