CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 3 . . . .September 28, 2007
Winds of L'Acadie.
Vancouver, BC: Ronsdale Press, 2007.
214 pp., pbk., $9.95.
Acadians-Expulsion, 1755-Juvenile fiction.
Grades 5-9 / Ages 10-14.
Review by Betty Klassen.
"I didn't mention it to you, but when I got knocked out on the boat that day, I saw this strange vision of an Acadian girl."
"Well, kind of like a dream. Anyway, it was the same girl that was on the dyke that day that we cleaned out the attic," Sarah continued.
"Yesterday, you mean. How could the girl from your dream be on the dyke? That makes no sense."
"Her name is Anne and I just spent two weeks living with her family in 1755." Sarah blurted the words out as though once started there was no stopping them.
"Whoa, slow down." Luke pulled into a roadside turnout and looked over at Sarah. This was more serious than he thought. "We cleaned out the attic yesterday, Sarah."
Sarah's brow wrinkled as she continued, "I was stuck there for a while because I didn't know how to get back. When I finally got back here, no time had passed. That's the really weird part."
That's not the only weird part, Luke thought, but he kept his mouth shut.
"I don't expect you to believe me," Sarah said as if reading his mind, "but if I don't tell someone I'm going to burst. So I'll start at the beginning, then you'll declare me certifiable and we'll both go back to living normal lives."
"Go for it." At least she had a sense of humour about it. She couldn't be that far gone. And she couldn't be serious about this 1755 thing. There had to be a catch.
Readers meet 16-year-old Sarah stepping off the plane from Toronto, dressed in silk and heels, resigned to the waste of her summer to be spent in Wolfville, NS, with her grandparents whom she has not seen since she was two. She is drawn to finding out more about the history of the Acadians and getting to know her grandparents.
Sent away from the familiar sights of Toronto to allow her glamorous mother to focus on her career as a television producer, Sarah is thrust into a new life and expected to share in completing chores while wearing rubber boots or gloves as she gathers eggs, picks berries, and cleans the attic.
Her first two encounters with her new neighbor, 18-year-old Luke, are disasters. At the farmers' market, he trips, sending eggs flying her way and coating her silk skirt in raw egg. Their second meeting ends with Sarah's suffering a concussion as a huge wave sweeps over Luke's sail boat.
In spite of this inauspicious start, Luke and Sarah find themselves drawing together as they help his Aunt Maggie with her farm. Sarah stays with them after her grandfather is injured while building a deck and must stay in hospital in Halifax. Luke's role in the plot changes from antagonist to ally as he becomes a valued friend.
Lois Donovan has created two intriguing plot lines that show an increasing depth of character in Sarah, one in present day Wolfville, and the other in 1755 L'Acadie. This time-slip fantasy is cleverly crafted using a Mi'kmaq quill box as the "connector" or time travel device, between Sarah's two roles. As she develops closer caring relationships in the present, she also grows to care deeply about the Acadian family which invites her to stay. She is determined to find a way to help them during the deportation and enlists Luke's help in this.
This novel provides an interesting way to learn about some of the historical injustices of the Acadian deportation and life in 1755. The parallel plot lines provide opportunities to discuss and compare adolescent roles and values that sometimes have or have not changed over several centuries.
Betty Klassen teaches in the Middle Years Program in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba.
Winds of L’Acadie has also been reviewed in Vol 13, Number 22.
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