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Edwards, Margaret Bunel
Toronto, Napoleon Publishing, 1993. 176pp,
paper, $7.95, ISBN 0- 929141 -19 -9. CIP

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13

Reviewed by Anne Kelly

Volume 22 Number 2
1994 March / April

Isabella is a wealthy young Huguenot girl, madly in love with a French army officer, and secure in her future. But life changes rapidly when her father a ccused of being a traitor, and her family flees France to Canada. Isabella must adapt to the primitive style of life in small-town Quebec, and decide between her love for Antoine and her desire to become a nurse. Like her new country, Isabella's life has both hardships and unexpected delights.

The Ocean Between is a love story. The historical detail, which provides the setting and rationale, is woven into the plot with sensitivity and style. Isabella's dilemmas are timeless--her need to balance marriage and career as real and important today as in the 1870s.

Both Isabella and her mother are strong characters. They face the experiences and decisions in their lives with strength, compassion and bravery. Both women reject the notion--still held by many today--that a w oman's role is limited by her sex.

The Ocean Between is both honest and positive. Isabella's pain and hardships are real, but so is her willingness to face them, with the support and solidarity of the Hugeunot community in Quebec.  The Ocean Between provides hope that challenges met will lead to a better life.

An excellent story.

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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