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Claire by Moonlight    by Lynne Kositsky order for
Claire by Moonlight
by Lynne Kositsky
Order:  USA  Can
Tundra, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In the spring of 1755, life is good for Acadian Claire Richard, aside from a niggling worry about the intentions of the new English governor, Colonel Lawrence. Claire lives in Grand-Pré with her mentally ill, dreamy mother, her father, brother Jacques, deaf brother Jean, small sister Marie Josephe, and baby Simon. Claire has compensated for Maman's perplexing state by becoming 'a whirlwind'. She does most of the chores and looks after the younger children.

One day, two redcoats knock on the door. The younger, Sam Douglass, speaks French and is a reluctant soldier. A friendship develops between Sam and Claire, across cultures and religions - he calls her 'Claire de la lune' (Claire by moonlight). Claire's Mi'kmaq friend Maie shares visions with her. Her cousin Armand wants to marry her, and tells her that Sam is a spy. Her brother Jacques wants to help the Canadiens at Louisbourg and fight against the English. Then, Lawrence's plan begins to take shape. First, soldiers take the settlers' weapons, then they imprison the men and boys, and exile the priest. Through all this, Claire and Sam meet, quarrel and reconcile, and share a first peach from a tree that Claire planted. But then the final blow comes, when all the settlers are loaded onto ships and expelled from their idyllic homeland. We follow Claire's adventures through separation and shipwreck, almost slavery in Massachusetts, and escape with the help of a Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) friend of Maie's.

Through it all, Claire holds on to her sanity by scribbling in her journal. She strives to keep what's left of her family together, and finally makes a new home for all her loved ones in French territory. Claire by Moonlight is an exciting story of a brave young woman. Rich in details of the times, it personalizes a bleak episode in Canadian history.

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