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Esther by Julie Wheelwright

Esther (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Julie Wheelwright

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811,035,133 (4.33)None
Authors:Julie Wheelwright
Info:HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (2011), Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:17th century, Canada, New France, biography, memoir, Quebec, abduction, adoption

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Esther by Julie Wheelwright (2011)



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Esther Wheelwright lived in Maine at the turn of the 18th century with her prominent Puritan family. During a raid by French soldiers and Abenaki warriors, she was kidnapped and taken two hundred miles north and adopted into an Abenaki family. Five years later, at the age of twelve, her release from her adopted family was negotiated by a Jesuit, who took her to Quebec. Although her family worked very hard to recover her and tried to arrange for her to be restored to them, it was not to be. Esther did not want to return to Maine and be forced to give up her faith. Instead, she joined the Ursuline's in Quebec City and eventually became their Mother Superior during the period after the historic Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Fascinating story for anyone interested in Canadian or American history. ( )
  kelli413 | Jul 6, 2011 |
Julie Wheelwright’s Esther contains two parallel storylines. The first is a biography of the author’s ancestor, Esther Wheelwright, who was born into a strict Puritan family and eventually became a Catholic Mother Superior. The second is the author’s struggle to understand the motivations behind Esther’s transformation. The two narratives are seamlessly woven together, allowing the reader access to the minds and hearts of both women.....This approach allows Wheelwright to stay neutral in recounting historical facts while still injecting emotion into the story, a style that should appeal even to reluctant readers of history. Wheelwright’s care in exploring multiple viewpoints lends her book nuance and emphasizes the fact that there can be no definitive statements when three societies (English, Abenaki, and French) are so closely linked in one person.

Esther’s story is a microcosm of the multicultural, multi-religious Canada we recognize today, and Julie Wheelwright does both her ancestor and her country justice in telling it.
In this highly readable and meticulously researched history, Julie Wheelwright explores the long and adventurous life of her distant relative, Esther Wheelwright: “Puritan Child, Native Daughter, Mother Superior.” In doing so, Wheelwright provides a fascinating portrait of New England and New France in the 18th century, and of the complex negotiations among the French, the English and the Abenaki as they battled over land, religion and hunting rights.......As for Julie Wheelwright, she remarks, “My research into Esther's life has opened my eyes and my ears to another way of understanding the past.” It is our great good fortune that she shares that understanding with her readers. We too, in these pages, learn the enduring power of story.
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For Thames and and Isis Menteth Wheelwright
And for my parents, David and Tish Wheelwright
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It is February in Boston and the sidewalks along Boylston Street are streaky with sun -warmed slush, the air sharp.
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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
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