Friday, October 7, 2011

Isle of Canes by Elizabeth Show Mills - Book Recommendation

Everyone knows that Elizabeth Shown Mills can write an epic book on source citations. But how many of you are aware that she can also write an epic historical fiction?

I just finished reading her book Isle of Canes. Never before have I seen a fictional narrative include source citations at the end. Elizabeth Shown Mills takes all the sources that she has found while researching the families that lived in the Isle of Canes in Louisiana and interweaves the facts into a captivating story.

The Isle of Canes is a region between the Cane River and the Little River in Louisiana, south of Natchitoches. This region was settled by blacks who gained their freedom in the late 1700s. The mixing of the races (white, black, Native American) and the languages (French, Spanish, English) creates a whole new culture for the citizens on the Isle. These free blacks became enterprising men and women and owned vast plantations and even slaves.Throughout the book, the family lives through slavery, freedom, war, and reconstruction.

Little has been written about this minority of blacks that gained their freedom and became the masters. ESM does a wonderful job of bringing their history to life. I highly recommend reading Isle of Canes.

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this review in any way. The above links are Amazon affiliate links. That means that a small percentage of your purchase will come to me. You do not pay more and I do not see your purchase.


  1. Thanks fot the reminder. Ive been meaning to read Isle of Canes.

  2. Tina,

    I totally agree with the recommendation. I read this book a couple of years ago and was not able to put it down. I love not only being taken on a great journey but also learning something at the same time.

    I wish she would do more of these type of books.

  3. It is on my wish list at Amazon. I also enjoyed John Philip Coletta's Only a Few Bones, his story of how he parsed out the story of the death of an ancestor. A gripping story, also well-documented.