In June, 1671 Jeanne Marguerite Chevalier left France to find a new life in Quebec, as a Fille du Roi (King's Daughter) sent by Louis XIV to help settle the new colony. Arriving two months later, this remarkable woman went on to marry and then outlive three husbands and survive the births of nine children and the deaths of six of them. Impoverished by her first husband, she worked with the second to establish one of the largest landholdings in the region. Her marriage with the third one brought an almost fairy tale ending to her life. Despite an incredible number of challenges, dangers and sorrows, Jeanne was able to create a life for herself and her children that she could never have imagined if she had stayed in France. When she died at the age of 73 in 1716, she left a long line of descendants, including Rene Levesgue, the 23rd Premier of Quebec, the American writer Jack Kerouac, and the author's father. Written by her eighth great grand-daughter 300 years after her death, Jeanne Chevalier Fille du Roi is an engaging story, full of facts, mysteries and unknowns. It's a story of endings and new beginnings. And it's a story of much courage, stamina, will and many choices. Factually and contextually based, it also provides glimpses into everyday life in 17th and early 18th century Quebec as well as many insights into the creation of the unique Quebecois heritage.
Author: Lynne Levesque
Publisher: Nicholas Brealey
While everyone may not have reached their creativity potential, Levesque debunks the myth that creativity belongs to only a few
Along a River
Author: Jan Noel
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
French-Canadian explorers, traders, and soldiers feature prominently in this country's storytelling, but little has been written about their female counterparts. In Along a River, award-winning historian Jan Noel shines a light on the lives of remarkable French-Canadian women — immigrant brides, nuns, tradeswomen, farmers, governors' wives, and even smugglers — during the period between the settlement of the St. Lawrence Lowlands and the Victorian era. Along a River builds the case that inside the cabins that stretched for miles along the shoreline, most early French-Canadian women retained old fashioned forms of economic production and customary rights over land ownership. Noel demonstrates how this continued even as the world changed around them by comparing their lives to those of their contemporaries in France, England, and New England.Exploring how the daughters and granddaughters of the filles du roi adapted to their terrain, turned their hands to trade, and even acquired surprising influence at the French court, Along a River is an innovative and engagingly written history.
Author: Susan McNelley
Hélène Desportes, born in 1620, was the first child of French parents to be born in Quebec and to survive. For nine years, she lived in Samuel de Champlain's Habitation. In 1629, the little settlement was captured by the English. Hélène, along with the majority of the other French settlers, was put on an English ship and taken to France. She returned to Quebec in 1634 and spent the remainder of her life in the little colony. She was married twice, had fifteen children, and seventy grandchildren. No portrait of Hélène exits. There are no memoirs, no diaries, nor any letters to guide the biographer. Nevertheless, there are public records and other primary sources from which we are able to piece together her life. This, then, is her remarkable story, set against the backdrop of France's efforts to establish a colony in the New World along the banks of the St. Lawrence River.
The King's Daughter
Author: Suzanne Martel
Publisher: Groundwood Books Ltd
Winner of the Ruth Schwartz Award Jeanne Chatel has always dreamed of adventure. So when the eighteen-year-old orphan is summoned to sail from France to the wilds of North America to become a king's daughter and marry a French settler, she doesn't hesitate. Her new husband is not the dashing military man she has dreamed of, but a trapper with two small children who lives in a small cabin in the woods. With her husband away trapping much of the time, Jeanne faces danger daily, but the bravery and spirit that brought her to this wild place never fail her, and she soon learns to be truly at home in her new land.
Promised to the Crown
Author: Aimie K. Runyan
“An engaging, engrossing debut.”—Greer Macallister, USA Today bestselling author of The Magician’s Lie Bound for a new continent, and a new beginning. In her illuminating debut novel, Aimie K. Runyan masterfully blends fact and fiction to explore the founding of New France through the experiences of three young women who, in 1667, answer Louis XIV’s call and journey to the Canadian colony. They are known as the filles du roi, or “King’s Daughters”—young women who leave prosperous France for an uncertain future across the Atlantic. Their duty is to marry and bring forth a new generation of loyal citizens. Each prospective bride has her reason for leaving—poverty, family rejection, a broken engagement. Despite their different backgrounds, Rose, Nicole, and Elisabeth all believe that marriage to a stranger is their best, perhaps only, chance of happiness. Once in Quebec, Elisabeth quickly accepts baker Gilbert Beaumont, who wants a business partner as well as a wife. Nicole, a farmer’s daughter from Rouen, marries a charming officer who promises comfort and security. Scarred by her traumatic past, Rose decides to take holy vows rather than marry. Yet no matter how carefully she chooses, each will be tested by hardship and heartbreaking loss—and sustained by the strength found in their uncommon friendship, and the precarious freedom offered by their new home. “An absorbing adventure with heart.”—Jennifer Laam, author of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar
FROM Neufch‰teau to Vaucouleurs the clear waters of the Meuse flow freely between banks covered with rows of poplar trees and low bushes of alder and willow. Now they wind in sudden bends, now in gradual curves, for ever breaking up into narrow streams, and then the threads of greenish waters gather together again, or here and there are suddenly lost to sight underground. In the summer the river is a lazy stream, barely bending in its course the reeds which grow upon its shallow bed; and from the bank one may watch its lapping waters kept back by clumps of rushes scarcely covering a little sand and moss. But in the season of heavy rains, swollen by sudden torrents, deeper and more rapid, as it rushes along, it leaves behind it on the banks a kind of dew, which rises in pools of clear water on a level with the grass of the valley. This valley, two or three miles broad, stretches unbroken between low hills, softly undulating, crowned with oaks, maples, and birches. Although strewn with wild-flowers in the spring, it looks severe, grave, and sometimes even sad. The green grass imparts to it a monotony like that of stagnant water. Even on fine days one is conscious of a hard, cold climate. The sky seems more genial than the earth. It beams upon it with a tearful smile; it constitutes all the movement, the grace, the exquisite charm of this delicate tranquil landscape. Then when winter comes the sky merges with the earth in a kind of chaos. Fogs come down thick and clinging. The white light mists, which in summer veil the bottom of the valley, give place to thick clouds and dark moving mountains, but slowly scattered by a red, cold sun. Wanderers ranging the uplands in the early morning might dream with the mystics in their ecstasy that they are walking on clouds. Thus, after having passed on the left the wooded plateau, from the height of which the ch‰teau of BourlŽmont dominates the valley of the Saonelle, and on the right Coussey with its old church, the winding river flows between le Bois Chesnu on the west and the hill of Julien on the east. Then on it goes, passing the adjacent villages of Domremy and Greux on the west bank and separating Greux from Maxey-sur-Meuse. Among other hamlets nestling in the hollows of the hills or rising on the high ground, it passes Burey-la-C™te, Maxey-sur-Vaise, and Burey-en-Vaux, and flows on to water the beautiful meadows of Vaucouleurs. In this little village of Domremy, situated at least seven and a half miles further down the river than Neufch‰teau and twelve and a half above Vaucouleurs, there was born, about the year 1410 or 1412, a girl who was destined to live a remarkable life. She was born poor. Her father, Jacques or Jacquot d'Arc, a native of the village of Ceffonds in Champagne, was a small farmer and himself drove his horses at the plough. His neighbours, men and women alike, held him to be a good Christian and an industrious workman. His wife came from Vouthon, a village nearly four miles northwest of Domremy, beyond the woods of Greux. Her name being Isabelle or Zabillet, she received at some time, exactly when is uncertain, the surname of RomŽe. That name was given to those who had been to Rome or on some other important pilgrimage; and it is possible that Isabelle may have acquired her name of RomŽe by assuming the pilgrim's shell and staff. One of her brothers was a parish priest, another a tiler; she had a nephew who was a carpenter. She had already borne her husband three children: Jacques or Jacquemin, Catherine, and Jean.