Cover image for Paradise : based on a true story of survival
Paradise : based on a true story of survival
Goodman, Joan E.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, [2002]

Physical Description:
209 pages ; 22 cm
In 1542, eager to escape the French Huguenot household of her harsh father, sixteen-year-old Marguerite de la Rocque sails with her equally stern uncle, the Sieur de Roberval, to the New World, where she is left alone on an island with only her young Catholic lover and her chaperone to help her survive.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.4 6.0 64508.
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Material Type
Home Location
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X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

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We were so far away from any life we'd known. I wondered if we'd gone beyond God's reach. Perhaps He couldn't hear us from this wild land.

Next to the immense forest of eastern Canada lies the tiny wild Isle of Demons. In 1542 the young Marguerite, her maid, and her love are marooned on this island. At first, summer provides berries, greens, mushrooms, and rabbits and squirrels caught by snares. The exiles become increasingly resourceful, scavenging for food in the woods and on the shore, using every part of a slain deer--its blood for pudding, its bladder for a water bag, and its hide for clothing. They even build a home of sorts out of saplings and mud. But though it is little spoken of, Marguerite dreads the harsh northern winter to come. How will they ever survive it?
Based on the true-life heroine Marguerite de La Rocque, Paradise is a gripping novel of adventure, courage, hardship, love, and survival.

Author Notes

Joan Elizabeth Goodman has written several novels of highly acclaimed historical fiction. She lives with her husband and their two children in New York City.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 7^-12. Based on a true story, this is an unromanticized, feminist version of adventure tales such as Robinson Crusoe and Swiss Family Robinson. When explorer Captain Jacques Cartier returns to France in 1536 with stories of great wealth in Canada, Sieur de Roberval sets sail for the Canadian wilderness. Among his passengers are his niece Marguerite; her serving lady, Damienne; and a stowaway, Marguerite's great love, Pierre. During the voyage Pierre is discovered and cast into the sea and Marguerite and Damienne are abandoned on the Isle of Demons. Miraculously, Pierre lives, swimming ashore into Marguerite's waiting arms. Thus begins the trio's fight for survival. As the newcomers battle the mosquitoes (the true demons of the island) and the natives, they struggle to find food and shelter, and their paradise becomes a prison from which there is no escape. The author has fleshed out Marguerite's story from several historical sources, altering it to be more hopeful but no less amazing. The book will be an invaluable addition to the literature about the colonization of the New World. Frances Bradburn

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-Based on the true story of Marguerite de La Rocque and the early French exploration of Canada, Paradise is a riveting tale of survival and friendship. Marguerite's uncle chooses his 16-year-old niece as one of the young women to accompany him to start a new settlement in a land of what he believes to hold great wealth and opportunity. Her maid, Damienne is to travel with her, as is appropriate for a girl of her class. She also persuades Pierre, the young man she loves, to book passage on the ship as a deckhand so that they may marry when they reach Canada as their differences in religion make it impossible to do so in France. When she is caught kissing Pierre after their arrival, she and Damienne are left in exile on the Isle of Demons and Pierre is sentenced to death. He manages to escape and swims to the island. There, the couple "marry" and the three set about building shelter and preparing for the coming winter. Life is hard and the pampered Marguerite finds she must cope with basic survival, Indians, illness, death, and pregnancy. Goodman's superb characterization echoes realistically in the dialogue and actions of Marguerite and Pierre, whose impetuous acts and sincere love lead them to punishment, and of Damienne, who serves as a voice of reason and hopefulness. The intensity and honesty of the survival story make this book a real page-turner as readers join in Marguerite's struggle for survival and rescue as she fights her own demons on Demon Island.-Janet Hilbun, formerly at Sam Houston Middle School, Garland, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.