Donna Every’s latest novel, Vaucluse, was recently launched at an intimate gathering of friends and family who enjoyed the celebration as well as the speeches by noted historians Robert Bobby Morris, Sir Henry Fraser and Dr Patricia Stafford.
Vaucluse is the fictionalization of the life of Henry Peter Simmons who owned Vaucluse plantation from 1816 to his death in 1843 and is described by historical researcher, Dr Patricia Stafford as “the excellent story of slavery, abolition, outside children and loving relationships” in her blurb on the back cover.
In his speech, Sir Henry Fraser referred to Vaucluse as “an easy read” and shared with the audience details about one of the intriguing characters from the book, Isabella Young, who was described by Henry Peter Simmons in his will as his “friend”. She was married and considerably younger than he was, and he left her an annuity of £400 and instructions that she was to have full access to all his possessions at Vaucluse after his death. Sir Henry challenged Donna to make her next book about the mysterious Isabella.
Robert Morris, in his blurb on the back cover, said that in Vaucluse, Donna Every “transformed the dross of history into a gold bar of exciting literature”. He began his speech by referring to her as “a national treasure” for using her imagination to take our history and (potentially) make it into a gold mine and for putting Barbados on the map.
Every remarked: “I am extremely pleased with the feedback I have received about Vaucluse so far and the diversity of people, both young and old, who have read and enjoyed it. Someone even found one of their ancestors in the book which has encouraged me to write Vaucluse Part 2 and to continue my research to see if there are any of Henry Peter Simmons’ descendants still alive in Barbados today.”
Vaucluse is currently available on all Amazon stores, at the Museum gift shop and from Donna Every. BT