Roland P. Joseph chose the perfect title for his debut novel. Carnival is a word that evokes images of color and fantasy, as well as a promise of the unexpected.
Carnival Queen is the story of Annabelle Castello and her family. It spans seven decades and several generations, and is woven amidst the lush landscape of the author’s own Trinidad and Tobago.
Annabelle is born to a poor, working class family in Bristol Village, but she dreams of a much bigger life with the handsome young man who works for her father, George. Annabelle believes she is destined to be with Ricardo, but George has other plans. He wants his precious Annabelle to escape her drab life in the village, so he sends her away to the big city.
But that exile doesn’t make life easier for Annabelle. As she grows up and learns her family’s secrets, she also realizes that her native country is indeed a small place; that things aren’t always as they seem, and that people can keep secrets that can change a family forever.
Joseph has a talent for description, especially as he leads readers on a trip through his native islands: “The large, luminous moon peered through streamers of dark clouds with a shimmer of violet and purple…the thick growth of coconut palms was now a mass of dark shadows sprinkled with silver splashes…” Many writers use that kind of descriptive language as a crutch. Miraculously, Joseph finds a way to tell a compelling story within the tangle of adjectives, and to do it in a way that propels the reader forward.
Joseph takes readers on a journey through the lush landscape of this Caribbean country with an intriguing love story that spans generations, and that rings true no matter the setting. They will savor the trip.
Also available in hardcover.