Thursday, April 26, 2012


My Lilacs seem anemic this year. Perhaps the warm March weather forced them to bloom before their time. They smell wonderful though, and the Forget Me Nots did just fine.

Did you know Lilacs have a lifespan of fifty years and are a member of the Olive family?  Native to the Balkan Peninsula in Europe where they grew wild on rocky ledges, the plants were brought to western Europe for the gardens of royalty. The early settlers of North America brought Lilacs with them. The French of Detroit were no exception and Lilacs once dotted the Detroit River. 

I love Lilacs. Beautiful and hardy, they are an underlying theme of THE LAST LORD OF PARADISE.

My knowledge about Lilacs comes from an excellent website.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


The Charles Trombly/Beaubien Home 1851 

Below are some links to "Detroit The History and Future of the Motor City". It has photos of everything, from historic buildings and homes to artwork and statues to churches and cemeteries. It lists locations and there's a detailed history with every photo.

Don't know why I haven't run across in my research before. I love this site. Here are just a few of the links about French Detroit.


Friday, April 20, 2012


I puzzled for a couple of days over the "favorite movie" box on my Blogger profile. Thinking of the hundreds of films my husband and I watched on Netflix over the years, nothing stood out in my mind. In fact, there were times when halfway through a movie I realized we'd seen it before––not exactly memorable films. I wanted to dismiss the favorite movie question as frivolous.

Then it came to me. A movie series that I never passed up, a family saga that compels me to to keep watching whenever I discover it on TV, even at one in the morning, even though I own the DVD boxed set.

My all time favorite movie is, Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather. I violent, and I hate violent movies. Yet I can watch The Godfather series over and over. I love the earthy quality of the characters, their Italian names, their hearty meals with red wine, their celebration of marriage and children as a serious matter, but it's their strong family ties that keep me watching. And in spite of whatever evil the Corleones might do, how far adrift they go, they are anchored by the Catholic Church. The Church is their only lifeline to goodness, and they know it.

I wasn't channeling Mario Puzo as I wrote The Last Lord of Paradise series. It is nothing like The Godfather. Yet I realize now these two stories have many of the same underlying ideas––food and drink, marriage and children are the future, and generations of families all anchored by their Catholic faith.

Thank you Blogger.
Vivian :) 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Come to Paradis, a place so beautiful, so peaceful, you can hear the truth ... if you want to.

Hidden from the outside world by a vast swamp and ridge of gray rock, a group of Detroit River French got down on one knee and took an Oath of Fealty to the man who led them out of British rule at Detroit. Thankful for their new home they called it Paradis, or Heaven. And on that day in 1766, they vowed loyalty to Anton Gauchere and his heirs, pronounced him Lord of Paradis, and swore to keep  their settlement "forever isolated, peaceful and French."

For six generations they thrived in Paradis. In its beauty and quiet they became vividly alive, drawing the joy of life from their marriages, their many children, their Catholic faith, and the strength of their Seigneur, the Lord of Paradise. 

The Last Lord of Paradise is a series of six books. As in any real life family saga each generation builds on the one before it. So here is Generation One, Jeanne and Anton. Enjoy.