Bestselling author Eugenia Price captures the drama, the glory, and the pure emotion of Southern life and love with perfection in Don Juan McQueen.
A powerful novel by Eugenia Price, Don Juan McQueen tells the story of John McQueen, an American patriot and friend of Washington and Jefferson, who finds himself bankrupt and forced to flee to Spanish East Florida to escape imprisonment. Anne, his beautiful wife, and children remain in Savannah, Georgia, as he obtains a new identity—Don Juan McQueen, confidante to the Spanish governor. The more he adapts to his new home, the more quickly he falls from the graces of Anne, and their children are trapped between them.
Filled with action and drama, this sequel to Maria reveals a unique period in history as the characters struggle with religion, Spanish influence, and America’s quest for expansion and recognition.
About the Author
Eugenia Price (1916–1996) was a New York Times bestselling author of 39 books, with over 40 million copies sold. She is best known for her historical romantic antebellum novels.
Read an Excerpt
“John, I wish you wouldn’t refer to your father as ‘Don Juan’ McQueen! Whoever heard of anything so absurd?”
“He’s a Spanish subject now, Mama. I rather like his new name. To my ears it sounds debonair—like Father.”
“Well, not to mine.”
Anne McQueen watched her eldest son prop his feet on the porch railing and settle into the old rocker to gaze out over the darkening marsh and river—hands clasped behind his head—exactly as his father had always done. The boy, grown as tall as Big John, had been back at The Cottage at Thunderbolt only since early afternoon. Mother and son had last seen each other in England, the day she left him at the Chelsea schoolmaster’s house in 1785, seven years ago. Through every agonizing month since Big John went away, she had counted on the joy, the comfort, the security of her son’s return. Now, beside her on this unseasonably mild early December evening, sat a cultivated, confident young stranger, as kind and attentive as his father—and so like him in appearance—but with a most unsettling maturity. Even when her husband had acted against her better judgment, he had done so with the near innocence of a child. Her son, not yet twenty, seemed to possess a strength which, instead of reassuring, made her uneasy.
Light was slipping from the sky so swiftly that Anne had trouble seeing his face, but she could feel him studying her.
“Are you sure you’re warm enough, Mama?”
“Oh, yes. I sit out here in all sorts of weather. The house is close—and lonely at night with everyone in bed.”
“Could you smile, before it’s too dark to see your face?”
She patted his hand; forced herself to smile.
“If only you knew how many nights I lay in my bed at old Mr. Butler’s house during those first weeks at school in Chelsea and tried to call up the exact memory of your smile.”
“You did, son?”
“I’m not the only one. On our way to the new schoolmaster Father picked out for me in Paris a few years ago, we talked about how much we both need that smile. It means you’re approving of us. Did you know that?”
“I don’t suppose I ever thought about it.”
“Right now I think I need to know you approve of me,” the boy said.
“You have my approval, John! And my love. You’ve asked me not to question you about the horror in Paris. I won’t. But you were wise to get away from it, especially now that the Marquis de Lafayette is in prison. I’m so thankful to have you home—at last.” She cast about in her mind for a more cheerful subject. “Your voyage was far better than Eliza’s last year. I still feel ashamed that after all that time away at school in England, neither parent was there to welcome the girl. Of course, I did make an effort—at the wrong dock in Charleston!”
“At least you could make the effort. Papa was in exile.”
Anne did not answer. She had never been able to bring herself to accept the word exile.
“I hope I’ve inherited some of my father’s spirit,” her son went on. “He’s painfully lonely for us all in St. Augustine, and yet his letters are downright buoyant. Same humor, never a complaint that he was forced to start life over again at forty—alone.”
Anne tensed. Had her husband, through his usual flow of letters, managed to win all of their son’s sympathy? Big John was so persuasive that she had come almost to dread his letters, even as she prayed for another by every boat that might bring mail from East Florida. But had she shown no spirit which drew the boy’s praise? Not once had he mentioned her courage in the face of the humiliation of his father’s debts: the anger of the creditors turned on her when they learned that John McQueen, Esquire, had run away from the Georgia courts to the safety of a foreign land. Was it of no consequence to the boy that his father had turned his back on America—even to baptism into the Roman Church?
What People are Saying About This
“Ms. Price [has a] knack for recreating a bygone era with such compelling and authentic historic detail.” —The New York Times
“Eugenia Price is a name spoken with affection by millions of readers.” —Publishers Weekly
“Newcomers to Ms. Price's work should soon join her legions of faithful readers.” —Chattanooga Times
“[Price is]” a consummate storyteller of meticulously researched and emotionally moving novels of the South.” —Rave Reviews