Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tell a Tale: Bride of new France

Something from Canada...


Summary (from Goodreads):  In 1669, Laure Beausejour, an orphan imprisoned with prostitutes, the insane and other forgotten women in Paris’ infamous Salpetriere, 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 stills to become a seamstress on the Rue Saint-HonorĂ© 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 largest 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 the possibilities in this New World. 

What happens to a woman who attempts to make her own life choices in such authoritative times?

Bride of New France is a beautiful debut novel that explores a fascinating chapter in Canadian history.

Review:  It's been quite some time since I read this book but can't resist adding it to my "read" shelf so that I don't forget just how good it is.

The story of Laure has stayed with me ever since I read it. This story is fictional but I could envision every harrowing part of her journey 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 everything she knew would have given Laure a sense that she could be more than she could ever have comprehended at that time.

Of course, the overseas journey was nothing any of us would ever want to endure, and the determination to begin life anew in a foreign land amongst strangers is probably more than any of use could ever survive today, especially at the age of 14. But I love the way 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 country that I had little knowledge about. I highly recommend this book.
From the Virtual Museum of New France
Have you 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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