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Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite
Death in l'Acadie: A Kesk8a Story by Sherrill Wark is a fascinating historical fiction novel set in 17th century Acadia, the present Port Royal in eastern Canada. It is a very unusual coming of age story told from the perspective of a thirteen-year-old Mi’gmaw girl, Kesk8a. During this time, the French established themselves in Acadia, home of Indian tribes like the Mi’gmaw, and as expected, drastic changes come to the community. Her account is at times funny, at times tragic. Kesk8a playfully resists the Christian name that the priest has given her, and develops a friendship with the colourful Frenchman, newcomer Claude Guidry. And as she grows into a woman, she learns that for her to survive, resiliency is the name of the game.
Death in l'Acadie: A Kesk8a Story is as fascinating as it is highly informative. Author Sherrill Wark brings to life a young Mi’gmaw girl who lives during a challenging time in Canadian history. What makes the story more effective is that it is told from the tender point of view of Kesk8a’s heart and eyes. Starting with her childish antics, the narrative shifts to the more serious business of growing up in the midst of the upheaval that her tribe is subjected to. Wark also comes up with a number of interesting characters that provide more depth to Kesk8a’s story. And the result is a historical fiction novel that will make the reader interested in learning history. Indeed, if history is taught to us by stories like Death in l'Acadie, we will get to learn our history lessons more intimately.