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Helene Brodeur

Winnipeg, Watson & Dwyer, 1990. 247pp, paper, $12.00
ISBN 0-920486-44-4. CIP

Grades 9 and up/Ages 14 and up
Reviewed by S.A. McLennan McCue, Ottawa, Ont.

Volume 18 Number 6
1990 November

The third of Helene Brodeur's books about northern Ontario offers no change in style or theme from her earlier books, Alexandre and Rose-Delima. If you enjoyed those books, then this is good news. You will once again be drawn into the comings and goings, the trials and tribulations, of the Marchessault family. In The Honourable Donald the author has moved on to the next generation. Now the action focuses on the children of the central characters in the earlier books, especially the three childhood friends, Rose-Delima Marchessault, her cousin Jean-Pierre de Brettigny, and Donald Stewart.

The story is clearly written and the action moves along quickly enough to keep the attention of younger readers. Adult attention will be held by Brodeur's integration of history into fiction. This book, like its predecessors, is well researched and the historical context provides a spark to light up an otherwise ordinary story.

The story begins not long before World War II and continues into the 1960s. Donald Stewart becomes a minister in the federal government, his old friend Jean-Pierre becomes his executive assistant, and Rose-Delima, by chance, works in the personnel division of his ministry. Unfortunately, such "chances" (and this book is filled with them) make the story predictable.

There is a place for Helene Brodeur's books in most general collections and it is a must for collections where there is a high interest in northern Ontario. It is fortunate that Helene Brodeur has seen fit to write from her roots. By doing so she teaches the reader a bit about the past while providing some light reading along the way.

S.A. McLennan McCue, Ottawa, Ont.
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