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Eirik, Sten
Halifax, Nimbus Publishing, 1993. 192pp,
paper, $9.95, ISBN 1-55109-021-X. CIP

Grades 7-9 / Ages 12-14

Reviewed by Anne Kelly

Volume 22 Number 1
1994 January / February

Géline of Acadie is the story of a young Acadian girl's search for her beloved following the expulsion of the Acadians. It is based on--and closely parallels--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's tragic poem  Evangeline.

In the novel, Géline and Gabriel are separated twice--once as children by their father's disagreement over Acadian neutrality, and later by English soldiers during the deportation. Yet their love is strong and neither gives up hope that one day they will be together again.

While  Géline of Acadie makes the story of Evangeline accessible to young readers, it lacks the power and passion that make Longfellow's poem a classic. The characters remain shallow and unformed, and much of the dialogue is stilted and unnatural. The narration itself is lofty and lacks the detail necessary to capture and involve the reader.

It is the episodes that stray from the poem that work the best. Scenes such as Géline and Gabriel's clandestine meeting in the loft as children and Géline's celebration of Christmas in Philadelp ia provide real insight into the thoughts and feelings of the characters. Unfortunately, these episode are too few to affect the tone of the book.

Géline of Acadie is, to me, a disappointment. It is not a bad novel, but any reader wishing to capture the tragedy and romance of  Evangeline wou ld do better to read the poem.

Anne Kelly is a part-time Masters of Education student at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and a substitute teacher with the Halifax and Dartmouth District School Boards

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