Can't Stop Reading

Lucky for me I get a hefty discount at work, because I just can't seem to stop myself!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Novel finished! It was Paradise by Joan Elizabeth Goodman. I can't say I loved it.

Goodman's novel is based on a true story of early French-Canadian settlers. Margueritte is chosen by her sea captain uncle to accompany him to New France to settle there. However, her uncle is a bit of a stick-in-the-mud Huguenot, and she and her lover and best friend are abandoned on the Isle of Demons in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where they must survive the harsh realities of 16th century Canada.

First off, Marguerite = most annoying character ever. She cannot seem to move without Pierre, whom she's forbidden to marry (he's Catholic, and she's Protestant). I hate girls like that! She is also a huge whiner, and weirdly, her friend Damienne congratulates her later in the book for being courageous. But she only ever does anything except for cry hysterically when someone forces her to!

Anyways, obviously Pierre and Damienne die, Pierre just before winter sets in, and Damienne in the spring (lucky no one died in the winter while the ground was frozen, eh?). Plus Marguerite ends up pregnant, giving birth shortly after Damienne's death. Margueritte also comes close to insanity thanks to the "demons" that live on the island, and yell at her about how they're going to steal her baby and such. Yeah.

I think the most unfortunate part about this book is that it could have been a really cool way to introduce teens to Canadian history, and it failed. No contemporary teenager is going to relate to Marguerite. Goodman also failed to develop any characters beyond her protagonist, nor did she fully explore the idea of the island's demons.

It seems odd to me that there is a ton of great Canadian historical fiction for kids under 12, as well as for teenage boys (John Wilson is insanely prolific)and yet, for teen girls, there's nothing of quality. A few months ago I read Esther with my teen book club, and it was the same thing. Unrealistic/unrelateable main character and very little character development. I suppose I will continue my search for great Canadian historical fiction for teens... I'll let you know when I find something!

Paradise by Joan Elizabeth Goodman
ISBN 0618494812
209 pages

Esther by Sharon McKay
ISBN 0143312049
336 pages


  • At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Maggie said…

    You should try Barbara Haworth-Attard's 'Flying Geese', 'Irish Chain', 'Love-Lies-Bleeding', 'Forget-Me-Not' and 'Home Child'. I think Barb's one of Canada's best children's historical writers out there. Also, I quite like Scholastic's 'Dear Canada' series. Very well done! :)

  • At 10:12 AM, Blogger bookstore girl said…

    Thanks for the tips, Maggie. I've read a few of Barbara's more modern books. I sort of thought they were okay, but a little preachy. The Dear Canada's are great, but on the younger end. There is so much for under twelves!

  • At 11:56 AM, Anonymous Maggie said…

    Ooh, I forgot one. Karleen Bradford's 'Angeline'! OMG I *loved* that book! That one's definitely for teens.

  • At 1:52 PM, Blogger bookstore girl said…

    Angeline is indeed awesome, and in fact, there is a prequel called Scarlett Cross that is just recently out. But the subject matter is not Canadian! If you did like reading about the crusades though, I would highly recommend Catherine Jinks' Pagan series.

  • At 4:55 AM, Anonymous Maggie said…

    I *love* that Pagan series!

    But, yeah, I see your point now. Where's the teen 'Canadian' historical fiction? It does all seem to be 12 and under.


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