June 09, 2007

48 Hour Book Challenge: No Paradise

It is 1542. Marguerite de la Roquefort's mother has died, and nothing is left for her at home anymore. Nothing, that is, but her young sister, Isabeau, who she leaves behind when she is chosen by her uncle, the Sieur de Roberval, to be the first Frenchwoman to land on Canadian soil. It is not because she is particularly special, but because her father no longer has any use for her, and her uncle is paying his brother for the gift of his daughter as French breeding stock.

Poor Marguerite doesn't go alone -- her faithful friend and chaperon is with her, and through some conniving on her part, her beloved Pierre. Pierre is a secret -- a Catholic, and the love of Marguerite's Protestant heart. Catholics and Protestants aren't meant to be friends, not to mention amorous, and French Huguenots are meant to be chaste and pure.
On board ship, Marguerite and Pierre are less than discreet. In punishment for her behavior, Monsieur de la Roquefort maroons his niece,and her maid, on an island off the eastern shore of Canada. Pierre jumps ship to join them.

At first all is an idyll, as they spend the summer in their 'eden' Paradise. Through trial and error they find a way to survive. But this is summer. What will winter bring?

This novel is based on the true-to-life story of Marguerite de la Roquefort, and is a riveting story of faith and hardship and survival.

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