Elle & The Tale-Teller

Book Pairing

Elle   The Tale-Teller

I thought these two novels mirrored each other in interesting ways.  There are obvious differences but, overall, they both fictionalize a small part of the life stories of two young French women who came over to New France for a brief period.  Even though there is a span of two hundred years between the two tales, it is hardly noticeable.  The first book takes place in the 1500’s, where Marguerite de La Rocque is abandoned on an island, known as Île des Démons because of her “loose ways”.  She must fend for herself until she gets rescued and is brought back to France.  The other title features Esther Brandeau (a French Jewish woman) in 1738, who thinks she can escape Europe disguised as a boy and start a new life in Quebec.  She is found out eventually and is sent back across the seas after she refuses to be converted.  In both novels, there is that desperation of the character struggling to survive and with that—a protagonist who can show her strength when it is needed.  They are both reborn from their new experiences and must rebuild a life when they return to France.  Glover’s narrative is in first person, so we see everything through Marguerite’s eyes.  With Glickman’s tale, we only get a taste of this view when Esther tells the people (and us readers) her stories.  Both are written well and give a glimpse into the history of the beliefs, behaviors and customs of New France.  You will admire each defiant heroine and will want to learn more about their lives, especially since they really existed.



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