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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: 1.2 x 6.7 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #655,462 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

3.6 out of 5 stars
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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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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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2 of 2 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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2 of 2 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 Dunyazad VINE VOICE on September 17, 2013
Format: Paperback
I am extremely conflicted about this book. On the one hand, I loved the premise and found the book difficult to put down. I've always been intrigued by the Filles du Roi, girls send over to Canada by the French king to provide husbands for the fur-traders and soldiers there, in an attempt to develop permanent settlements rather than just trading outposts.

On the other hand, the protagonist is pretty unlikeable and hard to relate to. I had expected initially that there would be more character development, that she would eventually take to her new life and be happy in Canada, that she would work to build a better life for herself. None of that really happens. Laure seems determined to be miserable. She can't imagine a good future for herself, so she just sort of limps through life passively. The author says in a note that this is deliberate: "How there could have been any excitement or hope in such a dangerous and terrible venture is really beyond my imagining.... I wanted to create a counterpoint to this grand narrative of the filles du roi as founding mothers."

I can appreciate what she was trying to do, and in many ways it succeeded. But I also seem to believe more than she does in the human capacity to hope. I can easily imagine that someone previously confined to a poorhouse in France would be optimistic about the freedom of building her own life in a new country, even if that new life might involve hard work and lack of comfort and a husband who wasn't her intellectual equal.

More importantly, though, reading about someone who's consistently unhappy and hopeless just wasn't particularly enjoyable or satisfying for me. I wanted to cheer with Laure as she embraced and succeeded in a new life. I *wanted* the grand narrative of heroism with its happy ending.
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