Reviews

Daughters of the Deer, by Danielle Daniel

booksinstilllife's review

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5.0

“Because of my help, he was able to survive here and didn't have to go back to France. I gave him children so he could make a mark in this world, for himself and his king. In exchange, I lost my People, my culture, and my way. I've been living in such a fog. But now I see things clearly.”
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This stunning novel, set in 1600s New France, tells the story of Marie, an Algonquin woman, Pierre, her French settler husband, and their two-spirit daughter Jeanne. While the young family initially settles with Marie’s Deer Clan, when a hunting trip reaps tragic consequences Pierre feels the need to separate himself from the Indigenous people and forge a new life for his family. While Marie settles into her new life of homesteading and farming, she always feels at odds with her husband’s ways and struggles to embrace his Catholic faith.
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Pierre treats Marie kindly, agrees to raising their children to know both the French and Algonquin culture, and genuinely seeks to do what he feels is honorable and right. Daniel creates this European man’s character so intricately and with such respect that he cannot be vilified outright. And yet, as the story of their lives unfolds, it paints a painful picture of the ways colonization stripped Indigenous women and their children of their power, their culture, and their dignity. I deeply appreciate the way Daniel crafted this story of her ancestors, telling it from multiple points of view so we see the minds and hearts of Marie, Pierre and Jeanne.
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Go ahead and judge this book by its cover - it is beautiful inside and out.

samanthadoyle's review

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challenging dark reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.25


I enjoyed this novel. It was deeply engaging and its blunt prose suited the characters. I found myself wishing for a slightly different ending however. It was sad (which is appropriate), however, the author tried to add some beauty to the tragedy, but it fell flat for me personally.

I’m glad I read this book. My primary focus in Indigenous literature is the voices of Indigenous people who have experienced the more modern genocide and it’s repercussions. I do however think that there is a place for these narratives too - so many Canadians have distantly removed Indigenous ancestry and it is such a shame that it was suppressed and stolen. It is a loss, albeit of a different magnitude. It also had me thinking about who should write these types of stories. I did find it slightly uncomfortable that the author used the first person for the most Indigenous character. But who else should tell the story of cultural assimilation if not those who descend from it? Lots of thoughts and no answers.

I will say that I’m going back to focusing on modern Indigenous voices. They should be the main course, while this novel makes for a thought provoking side dish.

rynicole's review

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emotional reflective medium-paced

5.0

kaleys23's review

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informative sad
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.5

books_with_zoey's review

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5.0

Wow - what an incredible book. Furthermore, what an incredible opportunity to learn and educate myself on the heartbreaking and very real history of this land.

The way that this book was written allows the reader to really feel all of the emotions of this story. Written from the perspective of 3 different people with such different views, the struggles that each of them face are so raw and real.

Marie is powerful, and strong, but gentle and caring. She never wavers in her beliefs and feelings while doing what she must for her family.

Pierre though not perfect, and ignorant for majority of the book, really grows to be the man Marie and his family needed.

Jeanne’s character is beautiful. She loves freely and cares deeply. I felt so upset for her and how she didn’t get the opportunity to know the two-spirit way of her people.

This story is moving and eye opening. Danielle writes with such beautiful description that you really escape into the book while reading it.

frog_appreciator's review

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reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

Beautiful portrayal of Indigenous culture and Christian brutality. A very emotional narrative, check trigger warnings. 

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vivwwong's review

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emotional reflective sad

5.0

the_happiest_frog's review

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dark emotional reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0

kailaelders's review

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challenging dark emotional informative sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.75

I was really invested in Marie and would have loved the whole book to be about her solely. The second half with Jeanne was interesting as well but I feel enough time wasn't given to build up her character and I lacked the same investment I had in Marie and even Pierre. Well written though and thoroughly enjoyed.

letstalkbooks's review

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emotional informative reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0