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Lightning and Blackberries.

Lightning and Blackberries written by Joanne Jefferson Nimbus Publishing, 2008 978-1-55109-654-4 (pb) $10.95 for Grades 7 and up


The rolling hills and marshlands of late eighteenth-century Nova Scotia hide a darker past that unfolds slowly in the pages of Joanne Jefferson's engaging Lightning and Blackberries. The first of her protagonists, 17-year-old Elizabeth Evans, writes an account of the year in which her world, after her encounter with a young Acadian woman, was forever changed. Through Elizabeth, Jefferson skillfully sets out the difficulties facing those in society who do not want to accept the role that has been set for them. The second protagonist is the Acadian woman herself, Marie-Madeleine. Her voice allows Jefferson to highlight a very painful chapter in Canadian history, that of the Great Expulsion of the Acadians, which saw the Acadians forced from their lands by the English.

Jefferson successfully interweaves the two stories, though Elizabeth's voice is the stronger of the two. As Marie-Madeleine and Elizabeth slowly overcome the barriers between them they are able to see beyond the wrongs of the past and begin to redress them, on however small a scale. Their encounter allows each to recognize what is most important to them and ask that they be allowed to achieve it.

Jefferson, in her well-constructed plot, has created convincing characters and a strong sense of place (both physical and historical). She has both deftly captured Nova Scotia's pioneer society and sympathetically addressed the expulsion of the Acadians, making Lightning and Blackberries a welcome addition to young adult Canadian historical fiction.

Leslie Buffam is a historian and bookseller in Vancouver.

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Title Annotation:We Recommend
Author:Buffam, Leslie
Publication:Canadian Children's Book News
Article Type:Young adult review
Date:Jun 22, 2008
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