Goodman, Joan Elizabeth. Paradise. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002. ISBN 0618114505. $16.00. 209 pp. Reviewer: Emily Fry Reading Level: Young adult Rating: Excellent Genre: Historical fiction; Subject: Middle ages--Juvenile fiction; Determination (Personality trait)--Juvenile fiction; Courage--Juvenile fiction; Books-reviews; In 1542, sixteen-year-old Marguerite de la Roque accepts her uncle's, the Sieur de Roberval, invitation to sail to the New World with a select group of young French noblewomen. Her father hopes that in the New World she will find a Huguenot noble to marry, but Marguerite has her own plan for marriage. On the boat carrying her and her companion (Damienne) to the New World, is her Catholic lover (Pierre); however, when their romance is discovered, Marguerite, Damienne, and Pierre are left on an island with limited supplies as punishment. Paradise is a novel that explores themes of friendship, love, courage, and endurance as Marguerite suffers the loss of Pierre and Damienne, the birth of her baby, and a harsh winter. This novel is loosely based on the true-life events of Marguerite de la Roque and the reader is left hoping that the real life Marguerite faired as well as the fictional Marguerite did. It is a good introduction to the historical issues of the Catholic/Huguenot conflict, the role of women living in French society at that time, and the French language (as there are many French phrases as well as a French glossary included). There are allusions to sexual intimacy, making this a book better suited for a more mature audience.
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