In 1703, a war party of French soldiers and Abenaki warriors raided the village of seven-year-old Puritan girl Esther Wheelwright, taking thirty-nine captives and killing a handful of men, women and children. That Esther managed to survive the 200-mile journey by foot through swamps and forests to a Jesuit mission in New France is astonishing. That she was adopted, quite happily, into a family of her Abenaki captors, is equally amazing. But for the Wheelwright family, who waited years before they had word that Esther had even survived the raid, this was a tragedy.
When Esther’s release from her Abenaki family was finally negotiated through a French Jesuit who took her to the city of Quebec, it was too late. At the age of fourteen, Esther broke her parents’ hearts by refusing to go home; they never saw her again. Instead, she remained in Quebec, the capital of New France, where, against all odds, she rose through the ranks to become Mother Superior—and a pivotal figure after the siege of Quebec in 1759.
Written by Esther’s descendant, Julie Wheelwright, Esther is a spiritual and an emotional journey of survival, and of the human capacity for transformation