A riveting read transports us to the Caribbean but there is a serious side to Cliff Bacchus’ Curses of Cousins
above: Cliff Bacchus
Like many, I have been reading avidly over the lockdown. Having spent the last few years travelling to the Caribbean region, I set myself the task of reading books set in that part of the world.
First off the shelf was Curses of Cousins by Bahamian doctor Cliff Bacchus who lives on the lovely island of Eleuthera, Bahamas. This is a deep, mysterious and captivating story of a young woman’s battle to overturn cultural practices and it has a dark and troubling side, making it all the more touching and relevant.
Brooklyn Watts is a 31 year old teacher on Sigatoo island, a fictional island in The Bahamas. Feisty, popular and clever, Brooklyn’s ancestors were Eleutheran adventurers but her family is plagued by incurable diseases. She and her twin sister suffer from MS, one sister has sickle cell disease her sister Angel has Downs Syndrome. Her mother has Crohn’s disease and her father has Marfan disease.
But as Dr Gupta, the islands only doctor, tells her ‘Light shines in unexpected places’ and Brooklyn’s cursed family gives her the incentive to find the scientific reason behind the illnesses in families on the island. The explanation is straightforward. All the illness is caused by intermarriage between first cousins.
Determined to stop the practice which is bringing misery to the inhabitants of an otherwise idyllic island, Brooklyn takes on the challenge, in so doing she has to fight centuries of custom, conservatism, misogyny and sexism.
She also has to contend with Vod, an evil inner voice who taunts and baits her.
Personal tragedies follow her story. Her baby, conceived on the beach by her half-brother, with dies in infancy, her sister and father die. She travels the world to spread the message of the dangers of intermarriage and refuses to give up on her battle, despite relentless setbacks including sexual harassment
The author uses his medical knowledge to provide the details of the diseases and the story comes to life with the strength of its characters.
Although this book addresses a serious issue, often considered taboo, this is not a sad or morbid tale. Brooklyn’s journey is fascinating to follow and ends on an optimistic note.
Dr Bacchus has written a page turning fast paced story which is entertaining while having a relevant message to the whole world.
About the Author
Cliff Bacchus is a practicing doctor in the Bahamas, consulting the rich, the famous (including Prince Charles twice), and the less fortunate with equal attention and care for all. In 2000 he was honored Physician of the Year for the entire Bahamas.His previous books consist of two non-fiction books and three novels: “A Doctor and a Gentleman,” “Do No Harm,” and “That’s Just me.”
Curses of Cousins is available in paperback (£8.99) and ebook (£2.99) at all good bookshops and online retailers.