Goodman, Joan Elizabeth. Paradise.

Author:Rosser, Claire
Position:Book Review

Houghton Mifflin. 209p. maps. c2002. 0-618-11450-5. $16.00. JS

Goodman has written powerful historical fiction before and this novel is no exception. It tells the story of a young French woman, who comes to the New World in 1542 with her uncle as part of a first group of women to colonize Quebec. Marguerite is an actual historical figure and Goodman explains who she is and what is known factually about her. (This novel takes some liberties with the historical story, but essentially is based on the experiences of Marguerite de la Rocque.)

This is a sweeping story of passion and survival. Marguerite is forbidden to love Pierre because she is Protestant and he is Catholic. They manage to come to Canada together but are caught and their punishment is banishment with Damienne, Marguerite's servant and friend, on an isolated island in the St. Lawrence River. With few tools and other means of survival, the three young people make a shelter and gather food to prepare for the winter. Pierre teaches the women to shoot and to set traps for meat, but before the winter comes, he is dead from eating...

To continue reading