Type: Historical Romance
Publisher: Virtual Bookseller- Self Pub
My Copy: Sent
They Met Over His Dead Body Until the day of Jean Cuvier’s death, his wives had no idea that he had promised until death do us part to more than one woman. Now, the Cuvier Widows must deal with his duplicity, while wondering who poisoned their wayward husband. Can they ever learn to trust and find love again?
Wronged: Marian Cuvier didn’t know how to react when she learned that the man she called husband and father to her children, Jean Cuvier, had been murdered. Yet, the biggest surprise was when the detective informed her that she’s not the only woman Jean married. There are three Cuvier Widows and one is suspected of murder. Betrayed: Nicole Cuvier went to New Orleans to share the most wonderful news with her husband only to discover him in a hotel room murdered, with two other women claiming to be his wife. It seems there are three Cuvier Widows and one is suspected of murder. Beguiled: Jean Cuvier forced Layla’s father to sell his shipping company and marry his daughter, or so she believed. Until the morning the servants wake her with the news that Jean is dead and she quickly learns she’s not the only Mrs. Cuvier. Jean has three widows, but Layla is the only one accused of Jean’s murder.
The Cuvier Widows is a trilogy that has been recently re-released into a box set with nice new covers. The overall arc of the story is about three women who recently found out they were married to the same man at the same time. Marian, Nicole and Layla had no idea about each other until they are summoned to the hotel room where he died. Even the police are stunned when three different women claim to be Jean Cuvier’s wife. I love the concept and the story is very interesting as we track each widow through the months after Jean dies. Jean leaves a trail of tears as we see what type of man he was, how he treated his children, wives and business partners, he was an evil person that left many unhappy people in his wake.
As the will is read all three realize that only Marian is the true wife and will inherit it all with both Nicole and Layla getting nothing, however they will all have to live with the scandal of being married to a bigamist.
Marian Cuvier was married to Jean for twelve years and they have two children. At one time she was in love with him however as the years passed and he was rarely home and took several mistresses she began to hate him. She believes she can finally be free of this loveless marriage when she finds out he died.
Louis Fournet was Jean’s business partner and is hoping he will be able to now sell the business and move on with his plan to work with his family. However when he talks to Marian she tells him that she wants to keep the business for her son and learn to run it.
As Louis teaches Marian about the business there is a growing attraction between them however they are both keeping secrets and telling lies and there is little trust in the relationship.
Nicole Curvier was married to Jean for four years and is currently pregnant with their first child. Now she is worried that her child will have the stigma of illegitimacy for the rest of his life. Nicole’s mother never married her father, so she knows what will happen and how they will be treated. She is looking for a husband in name only and finds the perfect person in a drifter who comes to help. Nicole’s name is still on the deed for the plantation Jean bought so she is lucky that even through there is scandal; she will have a place of her own.
Maxim Viel has been watching Nicole trying to find information about the plantation his family used to own, he wants to get it back for them. So he pretends to be a drifter without any money and will be happy to marry Nicole and give her his name.
As they work the plantation, they become close however with lies and secrets between them neither know what is going on and there is no trust. When tragedy strikes, Nicole and Max must learn to wade through the lies to trust and love.
Layla Curvier was married for only a year and she hated her husband, she was forced to marry him when her father sold him their shipping business. She is very happy to be rid of Jean and was about to leave him when she found him dead in the hotel room. She is the last one to have seen him and the prime suspect of the murder. Her childhood friend, Drew Soulier wants to help her and will use his skills as a lawyer to represent her during her trial.
Drew has a specific reason for representing Layla, he knows this will gain a lot of publicity and wants to be mayor. With all the evidence they have gathered, even Drew does not believe her innocence.
Layla believes there is another woman who may have been involved with Jean and she is determined to find information about her. She must find something to show she is innocent and in the meantime she and Drew get close. However the fact that he does not believe her and he is not telling her everything, she has a hard time trusting him.
When the trial begins, she must put her faith in Drew and others as her life depends on it.
The concept of the trilogy was great, I love that the three widows were shocked when they found out what Jean did and must make their own way for their immediate future. The year was 1895 and although it was quite modern in many aspects, still the papers were alive with all the gossip and scandal. I liked all the women in the stories, Marian was very strong and willing to take the reins of the business, Nicole was willing to marry a man she did not know to give her baby something she never had and Layla was determined to prove her innocence even though those around her did not believe her. The fault I found is with the men and all the lies, secrets and downright manipulation they did to get what they wanted. I had a hard time liking any of them. Louis did not believe Marian could run a business so never told her anything that was going on, even when a strike was looming. Max never told Nicole about his family and that they use to own the plantation she lived on so she believed he was a poor drifter until late in the book. Drew only wanted to use Layla for publicity, only when she finds evidence to help does he look at her differently.
The stories all were interesting and I enjoyed the time period, the turn of the century, where people had more choices in life, the world was changing and I enjoyed the semi-freedom women started to have. The books were fast paced I was glad I was able to read them all at the same time as they flowed well together since they all took place at the same time. All in all they were enjoyable books – I just wanted the women to live on their own without the men they selected in their lives.
I give The Cuvier Widows by Sylvia McDaniel 3.25 stars!