Friday 20 January 2023

Daughters of the Deer by Danielle Daniel

I just finished reading Daughters of the Deer by Canadian Author, Danielle Daniel.

1657. Marie, a gifted healer of the Deer Clan, does not want to marry the green-eyed soldier from France who has asked for her hand. But her people are threatened by disease and starvation and need help against the Iroquois and their English allies if they are to survive. When her chief begs her to accept the white man’s proposal, she cannot refuse him, and sheds her deerskin tunic for a borrowed blue wedding dress to become Pierre’s bride. 1675. 

Jeanne, Marie’s oldest child, is seventeen, neither white nor Algonquin, caught between worlds. Caught by her own desires, too. Her heart belongs to a girl named Josephine, but soon her father will have to find her a husband or be forced to pay a hefty fine to the French crown. Among her mother’s people, Jeanne would have been considered blessed, her two-spirited nature a sign of special wisdom. To the settlers of New France, and even to her own father, Jeanne is unnatural, sinful—a woman to be shunned, beaten, and much worse. 

 With the poignant, unforgettable story of Marie and Jeanne, Danielle Daniel reaches back through the centuries to touch the very origin of the long history of violence against Indigenous women and the deliberate, equally violent disruption of First Nations cultures.

This is a powerful, heartfelt story which, many times, left me bitter when I set the book down after reading a few chapters. Danielle Daniel does an excellent job telling the story and in the authors notes at the end, explains how emotionally hard it was to write this fictional tale of a people, the Algonkin (as spelled by the author in the book) who she has which ancestral links to. 

I can why this book is a national best seller.

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