Alice of old Vincennes
Passing mention is made of hunting grouse. The book contains a decidedly negative view of the French. Commander Helm shares the common view that the French are good for nothing and lazy.
A typical fur trader, or coureur de bois , was gone for months at a time traveling for work. When he was home, he was relaxing—sitting around eating, drinking, and playing cards—a description that appears throughout the book. The French married Native Americans, marriages of convenience to a certain extent and marriages that helped grease the wheels of commerce for the fur traders. Frenchmen in the novel recount in passing marriages to various Native American women.
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The non-French considered the dress of French women, which consisted of shorter skirts that made work easier to perform, a bit distasteful. Beverly shares this same view in the novel when he initially sees Alice. The novel permeates with other non-WASP, non-male biases.
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Native Americans are often described as repulsive and untrustworthy—physically perfect specimens and utterly disgusting. Women are seen through decidedly male fantasy-induced glasses.
MarysLibrary: Alice of Old Vincennes
While Alice is headstrong and assertive, traits that the men in the novel seem to find irresistible, she is put in her place as a flighty girl who needs to grow into a mature woman through an embarrassing encounter with Clark over her beloved being sent on a military campaign. Beverly hails from a good Virginia family—a good slave-owning family. Alice of Old Vincennes —perhaps the prototype of the historical novel—engages the reader in a dramatized historical event, place, and era.
At times, the story was a page-turner. At other times, I was amused by a turn of phrase or description. The British are the evil villains, the Americans the great heroes, and the French, well, they are fickle.
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This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Share this: Twitter Facebook. Like this: Like Loading His research stirred his imagination to plug gaps in the historical record. Roussillon, a wealthy and influential French trader, has adopted the lovely orphaned Protestant child, Alice Tarleton, and is bringing her up as his daughter. When the colonies declare war on the Crown, the French at Vincennes side with the colonies against the British and their Indian allies.
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Colonel George Rogers Clark sends the rough Lt. Helm and the suave Lieutenant Fitzhugh Beverley to take charge of the miliary post at Vincennes. Clark, though outnumbered, outsmarts Hamilton and retakes Vincennes. The facts Thompson unearthed were sufficiently romantic that little embroidery was necessary to create a plot. Unfortunately, the historical facts appear totally implausible when presented in novel form. I read.
I write. I think. I make big ideas simple for learners. I help teachers teach expository writing to teens and adults.
In my free time, I read and review old novels. View all posts by Linda Aragoni. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account.