Good Reads for the Road
author Susan Glickman
publisher Cormorant Books
by Alessandra Ferreri
In 1768, a young woman arrives at the port of New France disguised as a man.
The success of her journey undiscovered is short lived as she is quickly picked out for questioning by Quebec officials. Rather than speak plainly, the woman named Esther Brandeau, delves into a fantastic story about her unusual upbringing on a remote island by a family of apes.
Skeptical of her story, the officials put Esther under house arrest until they can decide what to do with her. No one suspects that Esther is Jewish, and thus prohibited from entering New France. With her fate left to the officials, Esther keeps her true self shrouded in mystery.
Instead, the power of her tale-telling charms the minds and hearts of everyone she encounters and Esther becomes a societal sensation with stories of exotic beaches, pirate raids, kidnapped children, desert nomads and lost love, all with gorgeous detail and delicate insight far beyond her years and social position.
Based on a real figure, The Tale-Teller is a detailed look at Canadian society in 1768 and a commentary on the strength and versatility of a young woman who chose to combat the social limitations of her gender and religion with shrewdness and imagination.
Not only does author Susan Glickman illuminate the beauty of New France in the 18th century, but she takes us all over the world through the delightful musing of a female hero you cannot help but love. My only complaint would be that I wanted it to last longer. At just over 200 pages, The Tale-Teller is a rather quick read, which leaves some details skimmed over in favour of others and I’m a greedy reader when it comes to historical fiction. Published by Cormorant Books (a fabulous Canadian publisher) in 2012, The Tale-Teller is a rich, poetic read for the historical-fiction lover.
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