I just finished reading a book called Bride of New France by Suzanne Desrochers. I am not too passionate about the storyline (or the length, under 300 pages is far too short most of the time, in my opinion), but I found the setting very interesting. It was partially set in Paris and partially set in New France (early Canada). I am a sucker for historical fiction, or any novel that has a particularly well developed setting.
As I’ve been to Paris recently, I really enjoyed reading a novel that was set there. I love that I was able to picture the Seine (a river) that Desrochers mentioned many times, and it’s surroundings. I also have vivid images in my head of Notre Dame, and it’s surroundings, and I understand the general feel of Paris when I read about it. Of course times have changed greatly, but I feel that I gain a certain connection to cities that I’ve been to.
Surprisingly, I’ve never been to eastern Canada in my adult life, but being a Canadian I still have a connection with the Canadian setting in the story. Not long ago I took a Canadian history course (with the best prof ever, every class was story time) and learned all about the origins and history of Canada. We had to write a research paper for that course, which I wrote on Susanna Moodie, a woman who wrote down a lot of her experiences as an early Canadian. I found her story very interesting and really loved reading about what life was like at that time, and what the challenges and the successes were. I can’t even imagine how difficult it was for these women, to move to a foreign land, likely marry strange men, and often have to live alone in the middle of nowhere while their husbands were away; these were strong, independent women (or so the thesis of my paper will tell you ;)). In Bride of New France, you follow Laure, a girl from Paris who is eventually married off to a man in New France and has to build a life for herself in the frigid north. As you can see, just what I liked reading about Susanna Moodie, I got to read more of (albeit more on the imaginative side) with Laure.
I also loved, as with most historical fictions, how you run into famous figures like Jean Talon and Louis Riel (whom she only refers to as Louis, but I got the hint).
Anyway, if you’re looking for a quick read (224 pages) and would like to learn about some of the history of Canada, or you simply like historical fiction, you should give this book a read.