Wednesday, August 25, 2021

BLOG TOUR - Necessary Sins


Necessary Sins by Elizabeth Bell

Publication Date: August 7, 2019
Claire-Voie Books
eBook & Paperback; 490 Pages

Series: Lazare Family Saga, Book 1
Genre: Historical Fiction


In antebellum Charleston, a Catholic priest grapples with doubt, his family's secret African ancestry, and his love for a slave owner's wife.

Joseph Lazare and his two sisters grow up believing their black hair and olive skin come from a Spanish grandmother—until the summer they learn she was an African slave. While his sisters make very different choices, Joseph struggles to transcend the flesh by becoming a celibate priest.

Then young Father Joseph meets Tessa Conley, a devout Irish immigrant who shares his passions for music and botany. Joseph must conceal his true feelings as Tessa marries another man—a plantation owner who treats her like property. Acting on their love for each other will ruin Joseph and Tessa in this world and damn them in the next.

Or will it?

Necessary Sins is the first book in the sweeping Lazare Family Saga that transports readers from the West Indies to the Wild West, from Charleston, Paris, and Rome into the depths of the human heart. Passion, prejudice, secrets, and a mother's desperate choice in the chaos of revolution echo through five generations. If you enjoyed The Thorn Birds or the novels of Sara Donati, dive into Elizabeth Bell's epic historical fiction today.

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“A feast of a novel by an extraordinary new voice. Haunting, meticulously researched, and exquisitely told through characters so human you’d swear they have beating hearts.” — Kathleen Grisson, New York Times bestselling author of The Kitchen House

"From the ashes of rebellion to heart-rending forbidden love, Necessary Sins is a work of art. Bell's voice is a refreshing addition to the genre, and the breadth of her research is impressive. A strong start to a promising series." -- Jessica Cale, bestselling author of Tyburn

"A taut, compelling family drama with a fresh and intriguing setting. Necessary Sins will be a welcome read for fans of historical fiction." -- Olivia Hawker, internationally bestselling author of The Ragged Edge of Night

"A gripping family saga with complex characters, Necessary Sins is lushly detailed and beautifully written. I look forward to following the fortunes of this antebellum family in future volumes." -- Susan Higginbotham, author of The First Lady and the Rebel

"In antebellum South Carolina young Joseph Lazare discovers a secret that would ruin his family. Driven to atone, he becomes a priest, only to fall in love with a married woman. In this carefully researched historical novel Bell examines the way race, religion and class weave a web that Joseph may never escape. A thoughtful, vividly imagined and engrossing historical novel, highly recommended." -- Sara Donati, internationally bestselling author of The Gilded Hour


Joseph Lazare is a very young priest living in antebellum South Carolina. He has very firm feelings about race and faith. Race is a huge concern to him because he discovers his African ancestry after being told for years that his grandmother was Spanish. Then Joseph meets Tessa Conley, a young Irish immigrant. and his heart begins to be torn between flesh and spirit. Joseph tries to view Tessa from a noble point of view so that his faith does not become corrupted.

Tessa came from very difficult circumstances and soon marries Edward Stratford. With good reason Tessa feels comfortable with Joseph and confides in him. Besides  the visceral connection they share they do try to do the right thing. For Joseph his vows and family mean everything to him. More than that now that he knows that his grandmother was a slave, he feels sad even if the Catholic Church allowed him to be with Tessa, just by nature of race, his options were nonexistent. For Tessa, admitting how she feels about her husband and Joseph is difficult for her to navigate, especially after enduring great loss and with each loss Joseph becomes more drawn to her.

Equally thought-provoking and tragic, this debut novel by Elizabeth Bell is rich with family secrets, great characterizations, examination of the heart, and how faith drives certain actions. With a complex plot that proves exhaustive research, readers are brought back to a very difficult time in history, and is often painful and heartbreaking. As this is the first book in the Lazare Saga, there lot more story to be told. 

Many thanks to Claire-Voie Books and to HF Virtual Book Tours for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


Elizabeth Bell has been writing stories since the second grade. At the age of fourteen, she chose a pen name and vowed to become a published author. That same year, she began the Lazare Family Saga. It took her a couple of decades to get it right. New generations kept demanding attention, and the saga became four epic novels.

After earning her MFA in Creative Writing at George Mason University, Elizabeth realized she would have to return her two hundred library books. Instead, she cleverly found a job in the university library. She works there to this day.

Elizabeth is an active member of the Historical Novel Society, and she loves chatting with fellow readers, writers, and history buffs. Visit her at You can also connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, BookBub, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, August 4
Review at The Cozy Book Blog

Friday, August 6
Review at The Enchanted Shelf

Monday, August 9
Review at Rajiv's Reviews

Wednesday, August 11
Interview at Books, Tiaras, and Lattes

Friday, August 13
Review at Coffee and Ink

Monday, August 16
Review at Passages to the Past

Friday, August 20
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, August 25
Review at Robin Loves Reading


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away two eBooks of Necessary Sins by Elizabeth Bell! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open internationally and ends on August 16th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Necessary Sins

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