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Bride of New France: A Novel Hardcover – August 6, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (August 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393073378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393073379
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,024,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Bride of New France is a haunting story of a courageous young woman, shipped over from France to the wilderness of Canada in the 17th century. Beautifully written, Suzanne Desrochers uses the rich detail of the time period to tell us of Laure’s remarkable bravery and determination and to remind us again of the resilience of our forbearers.” (Kathleen Grissom , author of The Kitchen House)

About the Author

Suzanne Desrochers, of French Canadian descent, has conducted extensive research on the filles du roi and is writing a PhD thesis at King’s College London on the migration of women to America. She lives in Toronto.

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Customer Reviews

I finished the book because I didn't have anything else in my house to read; a sad commentary.
DH
If you like historical fiction and learning about new places and times, this book is definitely worth the read.
Char in Boise
The plot though was the biggest disappointment because of the way it was written like a summary of a novel.
Kimberly

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Serravalle on September 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
Suzanne Desrochers' debut novel, Bride of New France, began as an M.A. thesis project. Fascinated since childhood by the legendary filles du roi, the young Frenchwomen sent to Canada to produce a population for the new colony, the author set out to learn more. With a distinct lack of data, this was no easy task.

Transforming dry facts into a fictional story; creating characters that walk off the page from numbers and records is the aspect of the novel that intrigues me most about the form. And I suggest Desrochers does a fine job of creating an imaginary world and setting her characters in it. Furthermore, her writing is solid. She spins a good yarn; her use of language is fresh and beautiful without being overdone. To the author's credit, the novel reads easily without succumbing to the category of an easy read.

A brief but dramatic prologue introduces our protagonist, Laure Beauséjour, in crisis, and succinctly sets the social landscape of seventeenth-century Paris. The story then picks up a few years later. Laure is now at the Salpêtrière, a pivotal institution in the mass incarceration of the poor of Paris. Here we see Laure interact with peers and witness her reaction to the consequences of their dire circumstances.

There's a magical moment during the reading of a book when you bond with the protagonist. In Laure's case, I confess I struggled. We needn't, however, like a character for the writing to work. Desrochers seems to be aware of this when she comments in her historical notes, "On some levels she is a selfish character, but how else in such circumstances, if not through wit and strength and even malice, could these women have survived and given birth to French North America?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By bookloverFLA on January 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
Very interesting subject matter, which is why I continued reading, curiosity more than enjoying the writing. Sex is a big issue and it is treated like a maiden aunt wrote those scenes. Her husband is called a "pig man" but other than his physical description we don't know what he did to deserve the name. We read about him lifting her skirt and then it's a fade into.....the next scene. The hottie Native American? I couldn't even figure out whether they had sex or not (well until it was absolutely obvious).

I do not need explicit-ness, actually do not prefer it, but please write something about her husbands treatment of her sexually, it is barely touched upon and it is highly important, perhaps the most important issue of her life because she finally starts acting on her own impulses instead of waiting for someone else to tell her what to do.

When I finished I felt sad that the possibility of this book was not achieved. But I did start thinking about those women, the real ones who got shipped out. Survival of the fittest and how many died before they even lived.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on May 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
Laure Beausejour grew up in a state-run dormitory in Paris in the 1600s where she dreams of becoming a seamstress. In 1669 she is sent to Canada as a filles du roi, and is expected to marry a French soldier. How will she cope with this complete change in plans?

I found this story to be a very interesting look into history. You always hear about the people who came to Canada to find a new life, but they always come by choice. This is a rare look into the life of a woman pioneer who did not choose to make the journey, but was forced into it.

The mood of the book was very somber. Laure is not a happy woman. Her whole like seem melancholy, and I was left feeling unhappy after reading.

I felt there was a lot of emphasis on Laure's life in Paris before the journey, and not as much told about her life in Canada as I expected. It was still a good chance to view a bit of history from a different viewpoint.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Chalmers on November 26, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found the book a little light and fluffy, too much repetition of descriptions, vague reminiscing, and language not suited to the time of the book. overall disappointing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly on December 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT

Does it make me a bad Canadian if I say that I don't read very many novels written by Canadian authors? I hope not but it's the truth. I don't read many novels written by Canadian authors and I think it's a real shame so I'm hoping to make up for that in the new year. I think the main reason I have an issue with Canadian authors is because the books written by them tend to be literature which while I love the genre I can't read to many books like that or else I start feeling a bit pretentious.

Anyways last month I was browsing the shelves of my local library branch and I came across Bride of New Frances and after looking at the cover which I find to be gorgeous. Seriously, look at it. Isn't it a beaut? So once again you can see I was taken in by yet another pretty cover and we all know that can lead to the book being a hit or miss for me and this one was a miss.

The story starts off in France where we are introduced to Laure and her best friend Madeleine who are both living in Salpetriere hospital before they are whisked away to New France to be brides to the men who live in the rough, and often deadly New World in order to give the men a reason to stay and build the population of New France up thus lessening the burden of them on France if the settlers were to move back. While on the journey though Madeleine falls ill and ultimately passes away when the two girls reach their destination leaving Laure alone and unsure in the unwelcoming wilderness that is now her home.

While this book sounds like there is an air of adventure, and promise between the pages due to the fact that it's about a young woman who is now forced to start her life anew.
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