Friday, July 1, 2016

Canada Day with a Canadian Book

Happy Canada Day!

To commemorate my country's big day, today we'll look at an
 excellent book from a Canadian author~

Fille du roi, Book review
Bride of New France
Summary (from Goodreads): In 1669, Laure Beausejour, an orphan imprisoned with prostitutes, the insane, and other forgotten women in Paris' infamous Salpetrier, is sent across the Atlantic to New France as a Fille du Roi.  Laure once dreamed with her best friend Madeleine of using her needlework skills to become a seamstress on the Rue Saint-Honoré and to one day marry a gentleman.  The King, however, needs French women in his new colony and he finds a fresh supply in the city's orphanage.  Laure and Madeleine know little of the place called New France, except for stories of ferocious winters and men who eat the hearts of French priests.  To be banished to Canada is a punishment worse than death.

Bride of New France explores the challenges of coming into womanhood in a brutal time and place.  From the moment she arrives in Ville-Marie (Montreal), Laure is expected to marry and produce children with a French soldier who can himself barely survive the harsh conditions of his forest cabin.  But Laure finds, through her clandestine relationship with Deskaheh, an allied Iroquois, a sense of possibilities in this New World.

Re-enactment of the arrival of the Fille du Roi - Learn more here~

Review (5/5 stars): It's been a few years since I read this book but the story is told so well that it has stayed with me ever since.  The book is fictional but I could envision every harrowing part of Laure's journey to Canada clearly.

It's easy to imagine how frightening but hopeful a trip to Canada would have been for a French orphan in the 1660's.  Although she went grudgingly, with little hope of a life other than destitute servitude, the thrill of leaving the hardship of the life she had known up until then would have given Laure a sense of hope that she probably could never have otherwise entertained.

Of course, the overseas journey was nothing any of us would ever want to endure.  And the determination to beginning life anew in a stark foreign land amongst only strangers is probably more than any us today could ever survive, especially at the tender age of only 14.  But I love the way that the author reeled out the story and the inclusion of Deskaheh, an Iroquois inhabitant of the land who befriends Laure.

I thoroughly enjoyed the characters depicted and loved learning about a point in time and of a piece of history of my own country that I had little knowledge about.  I highly recommend this book.

From the Virtual Museum of New France
Have you ever read a book set in the history of your own country and been surprised about what you learned?  Leave a comment below~

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