A paranormal novel set in jazz-filled New Orleans.
Wallinga’s imaginative debut begins with married couple Allie and Kevin asleep in their hotel room in the magical French Quarter. From somewhere nearby, Allie can hear jazz music sounding as if it were coming from another world. The story flashes back to Allie’s mastectomy. Though she survived the surgery and doesn’t need treatment, Allie is haunted by her health scare and feels that losing her breast was like “losing a close friend…a dear and intimate part of her.” Upon discovering a hospital in New Orleans that can reconstruct a woman’s breasts using the fat of her own body, Allie convinces Kevin to fly with her to New Orleans, which is still reeling from Hurricane Katrina. Allie decides she wants not only to improve her body, but to learn more about voodoo. She soon hears disembodied whistling and inexplicable music late at night and grows convinced that the hotel exists on a supernatural plane. As her marriage frays under the tension of her cancer and her anxiety over her looming surgery, Allie and Kevin grow more distant as Kevin insists that Allie’s fixation with voodoo is utter nonsense. Reinforced by a dream in which a stranger invites her into a new dimension, Allie now has a chance to connect to an alternate universe. But will Kevin be part of her latest adventure? Allie’s connection to her body becomes a story not only of identity and femininity, but of magic and invisible spirits. As Allie’s body recovers, her soul undergoes its own healing and, eventually, so does her marriage.
The Big Easy stars in this affecting novel about a couple’s unusual route to redemption.