Mary of the Woods

This historical novel is based on certain true facts. The author weaves a story set in 1757 on the east coast of Canada. It covers a turbulent and little-known era that takes place two years after the traumatic deportation of 12,000 Acadians of French descent torn from the communities they had built for more than 150 years. Some managed to escape into the woods and hide among the Mi’kmaq. An ancient indigenous tribe who are also undergoing a calculated genocide by the British authorities who pay 10 gold coins for every native scalp harvested.

The author, Charles Thériault, explores the primary beliefs of each group involved. Those that guide and justify their actions, as beautiful or cruel they may be. We follow the precarious events that occur to Marie Arseneault, a ten-year-old Acadian orphan fleeing the renown bounty hunter McGreggor. Having drowned in a stream, Marie is revived by an old Mi’kmaq warrior-healer named Muin, who transforms her mind and soul in a profound way.

At the same time, the Dunn family made up of survivors of a quarantine island situated in Boston Bay is forcibly placed on the land once inhabited by Marie’s family. They are there to serve as bait for McGreggor. A means to attract Mi’kmaq warriors who are known to attack new English settlers and whose scalps are worth a small fortune to the bounty hunter.

A little Acadian girl, a Mi’kmaq warrior and a pestilence family, must learn to trust each other to overcome their common aggressor. This story presents the power of Mother Earth, man’s perversity engendered by greed, as well as the magnificence of the matriarchal spirit that protects and assures the continuity of all cultures.

A compelling page-turner that will have you question human nature.