“Who was the man in the roundabout? That question is what started me on my journey of writing Vaucluse.”
Those are the words of Donna Every, author of the recently released novel, Vaucluse, a fictionalization of the life of Henry Peter Simmons, who owned Vaucluse Plantation from 1816 to 1843.
“When I first saw the grave in the roundabout in Vaucluse I was intrigued, so I noted the information inscribed on the tombstone and went to the archives to investigate. What I found out was astonishing,” says Every.
“Henry Peter Simmons was the owner of the plantation, he was unmarried and had two coloured sons from a slave woman on the plantation. He was very vocal in his protest of the abolition of slavery, yet he left his plantation to his two sons who were slaves up until 1832. I knew I had to uncover more to find out who this man really was.”
Initially, Every did not think of writing a book. After publishing her historical romances set in Barbados and Jamaica in the 1600s, she got the research bug and decided to research and write Vaucluse. She expressed regret that she did not start sooner because by the time she came to do further research some of the tomes in the Barbados Archives were sealed because of their fragile state.
“Donna Every is a brilliant author of historical romances. With Vaucluse she proves that she’s even better at fictionalizing history!” writes Vaucluse reviewer Sir Henry Fraser.
Prominent historian, Robert Bobby Morris says: “Donna Every has researched the history and then transformed the dross of history into a gold bar of exciting literature. This is authentic new wave literature from Barbados, and Donna Every is riding the wave.”
Historian Patricia Stafford says: “Based on meticulous research, it is a fascinating window into the past and a must read for everyone interested in our history.”
Vaucluse is currently available on all Amazon stores and paperbacks will be available at the Barbados Museum Gift Shop and in bookstores from September. (PR)