Bride of New France

Bride of New France

Book - 2011
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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-Honoré 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.
Publisher: Toronto : Penguin Canada, c2011.
ISBN: 9780143173380
Characteristics: xii, 294 p. ;,23 cm.


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Feb 17, 2020

Laure is young when she is sent to Canada in 1669. She is just starting to really experience a harsh life, loss, disappointment,
love and loneliness.

Mar 26, 2017

This historical novel took a while to pull me in, partly because of Desrochers’ expository writing style that seemed like it was a thesis project (which it was). But often she would end chapters with beautiful poetic images – for example, at the death of a friend: “Laure reaches in the air. She doesn’t know how to hold back a soul in flight.”
Regardless, I did get caught up in the story of 17th century neglected women from France sent to Canada (New France) to be wives for the rough-living fur trappers and soldiers. It was thought-provoking to see the situation from the traumatic perspective of the women who were sent to populate the new country after having read The Orenda by Joseph Boyden, which uses a similar cast of characters but comes from the perspective of the Native Indians and Jesuits trying to “tame” them.

WVMLStaffPicks Aug 29, 2014

I felt the itchiness of bug bites and wearing homespun cloth as I read this extremely well researched novel of New France. Laure leaves her desperate life in a Paris institute for orphans for an even more dreadful existence carving out a life in New France as a fille du roi. In Quebec she fulfills her contract by marrying a soldier who leaves her to fend for herself for much of the year. A great read for those who have an interest in early Canada or like historical fiction.

Jul 28, 2013

L'histoire d'un des mutliples voyages effectués par les femmes françaises, soit de mauvaise-vie ou désoeuvrées pour venir au Canada prendre mari et peupler le nouveau pays. Tout s'entre-mêle entre la peur de l'inconnu, ces jeunes femmes devenues des proies faciles, la dureté dans laquelle elles étaient livrée et le cloisonnement, mais aussi les allieés et la rivalité.

Merveilleux récit où on se demande comment elles ont pu survivre à tout ça.

Beaucoup aimé.

d2013 Feb 24, 2013

I enjoyed this book. It made for a good read and learned a few lessons along the way on early settlers in Canada. I'm just glad things have changed for us ladies.

MariePat Jan 03, 2013

This was an ok book. It kind of dragged and I did not find I could engage with the characters. It picked up near the end and the descriptions of the scenery were well done.

Dec 31, 2012

Enjoyed the details of settler life in early Canada - a fascinating part of our history. A quick read, but was too short to really go into the details of what motivated the characters to act how they did.

jdaigle3 Dec 03, 2012

What a gracefully written book! It is definitely only for those who love historical fiction and are not squeamish about the not so pleasant aspects. It is fiction, but quite frank which is refreshing. Too often historical fiction glosses over the deprivations and sheer hard work involved in period daily life.

Nov 29, 2012

a completely superficial, and disappointing, account of the trials of a French colonizer doing her duty for the king, a position of only legend according to even the author herself in her postscript, in a land where she wouldn't've lasted a minute with her attitude, the author puts a modern woman, with all her moral liberties, in the shoes of a woman of an entirely other and alien era, improbably and unconvincingly, though she did keep me reading until the very unsatisfying end, which says something

(Staff) Elaine Bird Oct 09, 2012

I really enjoyed this historical novel. The description of what life must have been like for these women was fascinating. I liked and admired the main character Laure despite her faults. An interesting chapter in Canadian history and an entertaining read.

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Feb 21, 2013

re_discover thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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MariePat Jan 03, 2013

Laure, a girl growing up in a orphanage in Paris dreams of becoming a seamstress. However her fate is to go to New France to become a wife to the French colonists. A interesting novel which describes life in 1668 in the new colony of New France.


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Feb 21, 2013

Sexual Content: Description of a rape, and unspecific sex scenes


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