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Bride of New France

3.24  ·  Rating Details ·  2,155 Ratings  ·  375 Reviews
In 1669, Laure Beausejour, an orphan imprisoned with prostitutes, the insane and other forgotten women in Paris’ infamous Salpetriere, is sent across the Atlantic to New France as a Fille du roi. Laure once dreamed with her best friend Madeleine of using her needlework stills to become a seamstress on the Rue Saint-Honoré and to one day marry a gentleman. The King, however ...more
Paperback, 294 pages
Published January 18th 2011 by Penguin Canada (first published January 1st 2011)
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Mar 06, 2012 Doreen rated it it was ok
This novel came with a "National Bestseller" label and a glowing recommendation by Joseph Boyden, one of my favourite authors, but I was disappointed.

The book tells the story of Laure Beausejour, one of the filles du roi sent by royal decree to New France between 1663 and 1673 to become marriage partners to would-be colonists and so expand the European population. The daughter of street entertainers, she is incarcerated in the Hospice de la Salpetriere which houses thousands of women: prostitute
Jan 03, 2013 Allison rated it it was ok
I bought this book because I have always been interested in the history of the King's Daughters and Québec history because it's part of my personal history and that of Canada. I remembered VERY romanticized versions of the filles story in elementary school( as if Louis XIV had personally brought them over here and they all married handsome, wealthy seigneurs ) Reading this book proved that was far from the truth...these ladies didn't have any idea what life in la belle province was all about ... ...more
Disappointing. This novel could have been so much more. The characters were one-dimensional and boring. The story was dull and predictable. I'm not sure how or why this book because a national bestseller ...

Please visit my blog for my full review:
Jun 25, 2011 Penny rated it it was ok
I was excited about the concept of this book but quite disappointed. It could have been so much more. I found the main character unlikeable and completely self involved. The whole storyline to do with her friend Madeleine seemed pointless to the main story. I wish the the author had focused instead on portraying the struggles and hardships of a woman who came and forged a real, ordinary life for herself instead of one who thinks she might marry a duke, collapses, goes crazy and has strange sexua ...more
Sep 24, 2012 Deborah rated it really liked it
Oh, I really loved this book! First of all, who wouldn't love the cover? It spoke to me from the book shelf... The woman's profile so mysterious and dark and then edged all around like a cut out, gilt paper snowflake. I had to pick it up.

And listen to the first quote inside:

"But what shall I tell you of migrations when in this empty sky
the precise ghosts of departed summer birds
still trace old signs."

Leonard Cohen
"The Sparrows," In Let Us Compare Mythologies

Poetic and beautiful? Yes, and s
Jan 23, 2011 Zoë rated it liked it
"Mourning, like everything else, was best done in silence."

Bride of New France by Suzanne Desrochers tells the story of Laure Beausejour, a young girl growing up in a Paris dormitory after having been taken from her impoverished parents. Laure has spent a few years working as a servant in a rich woman's house, but after the woman died Laure moved into the dormitory where she and the other women there do embroidery. Laure dreams of one day becoming a famous seamstress, but her outspoken nature p
[Originally posted on Futuresfading. This review is of an advance reader copy won from Goodreads.]

Bride of New France, by Suzanne Desrochers, is the story of a young orphan named Laure Beausejour as she is exiled to the new world.

Taken from her parents as a child, Laure was sent to Paris’ Salpêtrière, where women deemed unfit for society were placed. Laure got a brief glimpse of wealth and family while working as a servant, but when her madame passes, she must go back to the wretched conditions
Jo Butler
Sep 16, 2012 Jo Butler rated it really liked it
In 1656 King Louis XIV declared, “We expressly prohibit and forbid all persons of either sex … able-bodied or invalid, sick or convalescent, curable or incurable, to beg in the city and suburbs of Paris.” To that end, Laure Beausejour is torn from her parents’ arms as a young child and raised in an orphanage.

A decade later, Laure still lives in a Parisian institution. She has become one of the country’s most skilled lace-makers, and hopes to be noticed by a nobleman in need of a wife. However, w
May 12, 2012 Penny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This could have been a terrific book. It is a book of historical fiction set in the 1600s when women were sent from France to help establish a permanent French colony in Canada.

The history of it is fascinating. There were so many things I didn't know about how the French established their presence in the new world and how poor people/criminals in that time were treated in Paris. Where it falls short is the characters, and some improbable plot lines. The main character is selfish and completely
Jan 09, 2012 Eric rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
The book is a historical fiction about French women in the 1600s who were sent by the French King to New France (Quebec) to promote the increase in population there. The protagonist, Laure, is one of those women; she goes through various ordeals and suffering and also ends up carrying a baby of a Savage (aboriginal person/Indian of Quebec).
I really didn’t like the book. I was frequently asking to myself, what’s the point of this book? And the narrative was predictable in many cases. And it was r
Jan 04, 2013 Dawn rated it liked it
A bit of a slow burner, I had to stick with this at the beginning. I listened to the audio version and though I liked the narrator's voice, her speech was very slow. Once I got into the cadence of it, the story flowed better. Laure, the main character, is a brave and prideful girl. She's a searcher for her place in life. The story centers around much of her internal life and at times, I felt there was a bit too much of this. This isn't really an action-packed story, despite the fact that Laure i ...more
Aug 01, 2012 Allison rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to love this because I'm definitely on a historical fiction kick, and the filles de roi were something I didn't know anything about.

The story follows Laure, an "orphan" from France who is sent to New France (Canada) in the late 1600s as a part of the King's plan to populate the new colony. It's a fascinating piece of history, and perhaps the story would have been better in the hands of a better writer.

This book wasn't bad, but it was clearly by someone who was new at the craft
Mireille Lapensee
Jan 18, 2011 Mireille Lapensee rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
I was disappointed Laure, who I felt was an entirely one-dimensional character, and an unlikeable one at that.

I thought it was very strange to have the narrative written in the third person since we get very little detail outside of what is going on in Laure's head -- it comes off a little bit like stream-of-consciousness in third person, which can be effective in certain circumstances, but wasn't here. The style did help convey Laure's state-of-mind when she was left alone for an entire winter
A perfect book for a perfect day of reading, curled up in bed with some tea! This is an easy and quick read, but although it is light, it is still engaging. I like the portrayal of the characters, the descriptions of a very impoverished life without feeling sorry for the women, it was a good blend of realism and acceptance of what life was like for many at that time. I also liked the thorough description and time spent in the first part of the book in France, understanding more about the true na ...more
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
I am so conflicted about this book!

The setting (17th century Paris and 'New France'/Canada) and premise (government-made orphan shipped with dozens of other girls to frontier Canada for forced marriages to French settlers) are fascinating, but I just couldn't stand the novel's narrative style (third person, present tense).

Our heroine, Laure, comes from a poverty-stricken family, and in 17th century Paris, by the King's decree, the poor were not allowed to be seen on the streets. When her family
Luanne Ollivier
Jan 22, 2011 Luanne Ollivier rated it really liked it
Bride of New France is a debut novel by Canadian Suzanne Desrochers. It arrived with a 'must read' recommendation that it definitely lived up to.

Bride of New France tells the story of the filles du roi - the King's Daughters. In 1659 France is acting on the King's decree to "clean the streets". Clean the streets of the poor, the destitute, the beggars - "...troublesome sights for the young King and his regents". Seven year old Laure Beausejour is taken from her family and placed in the Salpêtri
Feb 06, 2011 Teddy rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
It's no secret that I love historical fiction and Canadian fiction, so when I was asked if I wanted to review The Bride of New France I jumped. I moved to Canada from the U.S. back in 1993. I have learned quite a bit of Canadian history but I never really understood the French Connection. I knew we had two official languages here, French and English. I always wondered, why French. The Bride of New France answered that question.

I loved this book except for the ending. Laure Beausejour was snatche
May 29, 2016 Melissa rated it really liked it
Bride of New France, the debut novel from Canadian author Suzanne Desrochers, is set in Paris and New France in the latter part of the 17th century. As the novel opens the reader is introduced to Laure Beausejour, a young woman living at Paris' notorious Hospice de la Saltpetriere. Skilled at embroidery, Laure dreams of becoming a renowned seamstress and marrying well. This dream, however, is shattered when Laure is sent to New France as one of King Louis XIV's filles du roi (King's girl), a gro ...more
Jul 15, 2011 Tiffany rated it liked it
This book was GREAT for refreshing my memory of French-Canadian history. Since I am French-Canadian, the history of New France was repeatedly shoved down my throat all throughout elementary AND high school, but it was actually nice to go back there. I also learned a lot about les filles du roi that I didn't know before, and I felt I came away from the book with new knowledge of my ancestors.

But man, does this ever read like a PhD thesis. This is probably because the author is an academic who act
Eric Wright
May 06, 2013 Eric Wright rated it really liked it
Desrochers tale of Laure Beausejour took me to a time and place beyond my knowledge. The time: around 1660. The place: Paris and New France. She brings this period powerfully to life.

On the order of the king, all female beggars, indigents, prostitutes and the insance are gathered from the streets of Paris and deposited in one of the dormitories of the mammoth Salpetriere Hospital. There they live out their miserable lives subsisting on thin gruel and, if they can, working their fingers to insens
Lisa Rostocki
Jul 02, 2012 Lisa Rostocki rated it liked it
I will not go into detail about what the book is about since that has already been discussed in many of the previous reviews. The author has taken a subject that could be at times very depressing to write about and turned it into something that is an enjoyable read. I am sure that in period that Laure grew up life was not easy and moving to a new world that was less developed even more difficult.

The book makes you realize that the women had to endure a lot of misfortune, hard work and probably
May 04, 2012 Lesley rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I won an Advance Reading copy of this book and thought it would be an interesting read. I knew nothing about the early settlement of Quebec nor of the filles du roi or the Salpetriere in Paris, so the history was interesting.

The book itself leaves much to be desired. I don't know which annoyed me more - all the French words (way too many) with no explanation at the back of the book, or that it was written almost entirely in the present tense. I sometimes felt as though I was reading the directi
3.5 stars

It’s the mid-1600s. Laure grew up in a hospital in Paris that housed orphans. When some of the girls are chosen to be sent to New France (Canada) to become wives for the many men who are already there, Laure is one who is chosen to go. The girls have heard horror stories about New France, including about the “savages” and don’t know what to expect.

I enjoyed this. I listened to the audio, and the narrator spoke very slowly, but I only noticed that once in a while. I suppose it did also
Apr 13, 2015 Ashley rated it it was ok
This book is a national bestseller and I expected it to blow me away. I wanted to love it but instead it comes up at the bottom of my reading list this month. It took me over two weeks to finish it and when I finally turned the last page my first thought was, “Well, I’m glad that’s over”. The characters were so flat and there was just no reason to be attached to any of them. Can I spoil something here for you? No? Well I’m going to anyway – everyone dies. Everyone but Laure and her “savage” frie ...more
Apr 05, 2016 Anita added it
Shelves: kindle
Wonderful book, researched well, good characters true to life and well constructed story. Very informative on the filles du roi Daughters of the King. I enjoyed it so much and I am currently putting my French Canadian line together that is from a young orphaned girl that came to New France and it help to realize all they went thru to get the country started with French ladies sacrificing or even exiled to come marry French men and help populate the country. I would like to see a sequel to this s ...more
Mary O'connell
I really enjoyed this story of the filles du roi, the young women from France who were shipped over to Canada aka New France to marry the settlers there and build a new country for the King. The myth was that these were noble women who were going to build a fine, French stock over in Canada. The truth is they were prostitutes and poor beggars who were shipped out to Canada with little choice because the king wished to be rid of them. They were transported under guard to the ships and escorted by ...more
Oct 26, 2012 Sallee rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
This was an interesting book about a young girl who is shipped to Canada with many other girls from an workhouse-orphanage in Paris. These women, orphans, prostitutes and farm girls were sent by the king of France to help populate this new lamd. They were expected to marry men who were farmers and start having children. The descriptive ways she describes the main character's life style who is in survival mode shows how hard just staying alive was. I can't imagine not being able to bathe and was ...more
Aug 19, 2011 Rai rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011, 2013
I'll go with 4 stars, even though it wasn't what I expected. I adore this era of our history and was positively giddy when I saw this book on the shelf of the book store. I wish there were more publications of these stories, but I suppose considering they often run very similarly, there will never be great attention given to these women.

I think it can definitely use some improvement... oftentimes our main character is left speechless in situations I imagine she should have had an opinion.

Oct 29, 2012 Aura rated it it was amazing
I dont understand why everyone is not raving about this novel. Its fantastic historical fiction about France's efforts to populate the wilds of Canada. The main character Laure is a poor girl living at the mercy of society in Paris. Like many other poor destitute girls, she is shipped off to Canada to marry, produce children and populate the new colony. Laure's life is sad but true. This is not an idealized story of the past. Life back then was hard and this novel doesnt glamourize it or justify ...more
Feb 12, 2011 Kendra rated it liked it
Shelves: own-it
I wanted to love Bride of New France. I loved that Suzanne Desrochers looked at the life of the filles du roi. But the novel suffered from a lack of action. The plot had plenty of things going on, but somehow the whole story dragged on without the sense of excitement. Needed more meat in that storyline and character development and depth. I was disappointed in this aspect. The redeeming value is the interesting background into the story of the women who helped populate New France.
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SUZANNE DESROCHERS grew up in the French-Canadian village of Lafontaine on the shores of Georgian Bay, Ontario. Now based in Toronto, she is currently writing a Ph.D. thesis at King's College, London, comparing the migration of French and British women to North America in the early modern period. She has lived in Paris and Tokyo and travelled extensively throughout Asia. Her travel writing has app ...more
More about Suzanne Desrochers...

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