Catherine Duval remembers better days when Gabriel Duval didn’t drown himself in cups of wine. A chronic alcoholic, he’s still a caring father when sober, but when he’s drinking, he mixes her up in his mind with the native wife who divorced him. At those times, he takes out his anger and resentment on Catherine. For her part, she focuses on the good times and walks on eggshells in the bad, but the turmoil at home heightens her longing for peace, something she finds hard to acquire.
France and England fight over control of New France and New England impacting the area’s economy. Her Lachine fur trading business, on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, gains no exception. Situated across from Montreal, she finds herself in the midst of conflicting forces tugging at her desire to remain neutral. She must balance upon a tightrope. In order to keep her business thriving, she must trade between two powerful nations battling for dominance. Still she manages well until her former British fiancé returns as a servant courtesy of her father’s indolence and avarice.
When Gabriel Duval acquires prisoner Samuel Crane, Catherine’s heart does a double take. She thought she was over him after he had abandoned her to find his brother, but now she must decide if she’ll help him carry important military information to the English, to General Wolfe, in order to shorten the war and bring peace to the region. To do so would be no small feat which would require her to paddle with Samuel along the St. Lawrence between opposing forces. Any misstep could end both their lives. If caught by the French, she would be branded a traitor and execution would be her fate, but when she arrived among the English, they might suspect her motives. Being half-Mohawk and half French, she might be imprisoned or executed. Catherine must decide if she should take the risk and assist her former fiancé. If she does, will she be killed or survive? Will her heart endure constant contact with her former love? Will her endeavor aide the cause of peace?
Jocelyn Green’s writing sparkles like sunshine glistening upon rippling water. Her high prose rises to poetic in places while her plot compels the reader to flip pages and see what happens next. Like an incoming tide, urgency carries the reader along seeking to know how the story will end. Even if one is a history buff and knows how native and colonial history ended, this author makes the era surge with life. Although constrained by historic events, Jocelyn Green weaves a tapestry of intricate design bursting with vibrant color. This is a book to be cherished and read and reread. It’s that good.
Having said as much, the reader will simply have to buy the book when it is released in February to find out what happens to Catherine and Samuel as they run the gauntlet through French territory to bring crucial intelligence to the English.
This reviewer received a pre-publication copy from NetGalley.com courtesy of the author Jocelyn Green in order to provide an honest, unbiased review of this book. This reviewer is under no obligation to provide a positive review, just an honest one.