Bride of New France ~ Suzanne Desrochers

Taken from her parents as a young child and presumed to be an orphan, Laure Beausejour has grown up in a dormitory in Paris surrounded by prostitutes, the insane and other forgotten women. She has grand dreams of using her needlework skills to become a seamstress and to one day marry a nobleman. These dreams however will remain just that, as Laure is sent across the ocean to New France as a fille du roi. Laure knows nothing of her new home except for stories of ferocious winters and equally ferocious Indians who, legend has it, eat the hearts of French priests and scalp French women. Laure must learn to adapt to her new life in Ville-Marie (modern day Montréal) where she is expected to marry and produce many children while her husband abandons her for the harsh winter to live with the Algonquians as a courrier du bois. Bride of New France explores many of the challenges that a young fille du roi must face upon her arrival in her new home.
I was stoked to finally read this story and I have to say that I was beyond disappointed. A lot of the time I found myself questioning why certain things were included . . . for example there were some characters thoughts randomly in the middle of the page and I had no idea why they were there or who was thinking them and really, what was the point of having them there. Prime example – what was with Deskaheh cutting her? What was the point of that and why was that not explained if it was an important detail? And if it wasn’t important what was it doing in the story? The story was dull, there was no climax and it was predictable.

The first half of the book wasn’t bad – Laure’s life in the dormitory in Paris and the voyage across the ocean – these parts were interesting but once she arrives in Ville-Marie the story takes a turn for the worst . . .  the story became so boring and tedious and I just could not wait to be finished. I feel like Desrochers missed an amazing opportunity to really dive into the life of a fille du roi and really explore the challenges and struggles of these girls. The latter half of the book felt like the author was getting tired of writing this story. I really disliked Laure once she arrived in New France – in Paris she is adventurous and determined to make something of herself but once she arrives in Ville-Marie she seems to be defeated and as if she is just an empty shell simply enduring life in New France. She does not grow as a character but rather digresses; I would have loved for her to accomplish something and persevere through the challenges of her new world rather than just suffer and passively watch her life pass by. I also found her to be very selfish and she was extremely snobby and stuck-up even though she came from nothing and has nothing other than her needlework skills which are of no use to her in New France.

This book could have been so much more and I think that is one of the main reasons why I was so disappointed in it, along with the one-dimensional characters and strange thoughts/conversations. To be honest, I really wouldn’t recommend this book. 

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