Posts tagged ‘marriage’

STRUGGLE TO SURVIVE

Sara: A Canadian Saga

Written by Audrey Austin

Sara,acanadiansaga,pic

This novel of historical fiction begins in the maritime provinces in Canada in 1916. It features two protagonists Sara and Roy, who are both age ten at the time. The reader experiences their struggles as children determined to succeed in troubled families whose lives are complicated further by the Depression years. Roy vows to “make something of himself”: Sara works hard to be an independent woman able to support herself.

When Sara and Roy meet and fall in love, circumstances will force them into the same unhappy lives that plagued their parents. Sara’s father is broken by the loss of his business; Luke loses his mother and detests his father’s remarriage. After Roy and Sara marry, the economy will turn sour, Luke loses one job after another. Sara gives up her good secretarial job to follow Luke. Not long after children are born who turn out to be much like their bickering parents. Eventually, Sara and Roy will be separated as he is forced to move to the city of Toronto to find employment. Finally things seem to be improving economically, but their personal struggles intensify.

Despite the turmoil, their family seems to be able to overcome one obstacle after the other. Luke and Sara both have conflicting personalities which are mirrored in their offspring, yet the family always manages to survive, The novel ends in 1942 with Sara rediscovering her childhood journal and reflecting upon her life.

I enjoyed learning about the history of Canada during this time period. The characters are well developed and true to life. This novel is a wonderful coming of age book for children age twelve and older. It is realistic family fiction that is an engaging quick read. If you enjoy historical fiction with strong compelling characters, this book is a good choice.

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THE GENUINE ARTICLE

Beauty and the Beast

Written by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont and Marie-Michelle Joy

Illustrated by Walter Crane

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This rendition of the classic fairy tale is based on the original eighteenth century version. No Disney elements are found here. This original version was written and distributed widely in France to protest the marriage system of the day in which women had no right to choose or refuse a mate. The original version was a full length novel written for adults, which was later shortened.

At the beginning of the tale, the reader meets a wealthy merchant who has six sons and six daughters. They live sumptuously and prosperously. Suddenly, disaster strikes. The merchant loses his home and possessions in a fire, and pirates sack his shipping business. The distraught family retreats to a poor life in a forest cottage, which is their only remaining possession. All his daughters complain with the exception of the youngest named Beauty who is determined to make their meager life a happy one. Then one day she asks her father for a favor. She longs to see one beautiful rose. The merchant sets off to find one and his journey takes him to a mysterious castle. He is left alone but treated lavishly. Suddenly an ugly beast appears. He promises to let the traveler return home if he will return with one of his daughters to live with him in the castle. The merchant reluctantly agrees.

Beauty feels responsible for her father’s plight and volunteers to return with him to the castle of the Beast where they find unexpected surprises and treasures. When it comes time for the merchant to return home, both he and his daughter are distraught. Strange dreams bring about strange occurrences. What will happen to Beauty and the Beast? Remember, I told you that this is not a classic Disney fairytale.

The illustrations are the original nineteenth century drawings by Walter Crane. They are extraordinarily detailed and magnificently colored. The reader will think herself transported to a museum. They add to the flavor of an authentic French period piece. As an adult, I enjoyed this rendition of the classic tale. I believe that tweens and teens will find this “grown-up” rendition of Beauty and the Beast a most appealing one. Available in kindle and paperback versions.

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