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Mary U. Jordan.

Winnipeg, Prairie Publishing, c1983.
108pp, paper, $7.95.
ISBN 0-919576-40-0.

Grades 5 and up.
Reviewed by Corinne Tellier.

Volume 12 Number 1
1984 January

Nine years after the publication of To Louis from Your Sister Who Loves You, Sara Kiel (Griffin House, 1974), the author relates the life of Riel's grandmother. In this story Marie Anne Gaboury, wife of Jean Baptiste Lagimodière, is portrayed as one who worked, cried, prayed and hoped, and not simply in the limelight of being the first white woman to reside in the Canadian West. The life of a voyageur's wife was difficult, and the hardships, loneliness, and disappointments Marie Anne knew are well told in this narrative. Marie Anne was a caring person who assisted the suffering in her entourage, and this concern, together with her love and devotion for her husband and family, account for Marie Anne's survival on the Prairies. As the story unfolds, the conflicts between the fur companies, the role Lagimodière played in the fledgling settlement, and the problems at Red River are well interwoven but without burdening the text with dates and names.

It is praiseworthy that Jordan's account is more than factual data found in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography and Healy's Women of Red River (first published in 1923), but the names from history should remain unchanged. It is Sévère Dumoulin and not "Pierre Dumadin," who accompanied Father Provencher in 1818. Josette, the daughter born in the Cypress Mountains, was "Cyprès" not "Cypress." All the words requiring accents, "Maskinongé," "Bérubé," "Lagimodière," "Père," etc., are inexcusably printed without them. The dedication page contains two errors; the acknowledgements, at least one. The names should read Valcourt, de Moissac and Vien respectively.

The paperback format is pleasing, the print is a good size, and the illustrations well-chosen. Unfortunately, the text material in the captions for most archival photos is lengthy and repetitive; there is no map to illustrate the travels and no simplified family chart. Regrettably, the text contains numerous errors and there is a lack of uniformity in the appellation of the areas, e.g., Colony Gardens (pp 66 and 90) was wrongly called Colony Creek (p 82); "le pays en haut" (pp 9, 10 and 20) should read "le pays d'en haut" as on page 50. A number of errors, grammatical and spelling, and omissions could have been avoided during editing, such as the missing line(s) from the first sentence on page 98.

Despite the above reservations, this book is recommended for grades 5 and up and will have a greater appeal in the context of a study of settlement of the Prairies. The capsulated version of the life of Marie Anne after her husband's death invites the reader to discover more about this pioneer who saw her grandson lead the province into Confederation.

Corinne Tellier, Winnipeg School Division #1, Winnipeg, MB.
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