Book Review: My Evangeline by Heidi Radford Legg

About the Book:

My Evangeline by Heidi Radford Legg

When small town Acadian girl, Evangeline, 18, is faced with choosing between living out her late-mother’s unfinished dreams at her father’s insistence or following her own charted path that includes her summer boyfriend, the American Max, the magnitude of her decision weighs heavily. When she folds to her father’s pressure and moves to Montreal, she not only finds herself embroiled in political protests and losing Max, but begins to unravel a family secret her father was desperate to hide. My Evangeline, set in retro 1995, tells the story of a willful heroine, who with all her irreverent and rebellious undertones, is stopped in her tracks by duty. With a nod to Longfellow’s epic Evangeline who was faced with the same choice, we meet a contemporary heroine who begins her journey naïve and dutiful. And like the fabled heroine of old, she finds her inner strength once she realizes the casualty of her choices. Elements of magic realism permeate the story as she unravels the secret. She meets an owl, a panther and a raven that challenge her ability to reason as she sets out in search of her true spirit.

My Thoughts:

This story, set in 1995, follows a small town girl as she struggles to decide the path to take in life. On one side are her dreams and on the other are her father’s dreams for her. Torn between having to do what her father wants and her plans to join her boyfriend, Evangaline gives in and moves to Montreal. There she finds herself drawn into participating in political protests. The story shows us that any teenager, when brought up in a certain way with certain expectations, will always find ways to rebel.

Evangeline shows her emotions and expression through her art. Taken by her wonderful work, Sylvia tries to help her out. Evangeline also seems to live in two worlds, the real one, and the one where all the people seem to turn into animals. It seems to be the authors way of portraying how Evangeline thinks and showing us how it differs from many of us normally.

Slowly, our protagonist discovers that many people she meets in Montreal once knew her mother.As she embarks on a journey to try to discover more about her mother, her relationship with Max starts to face problems. All this, over the course of a year in her life, the author brings in some wonderful people for us to meet. The supporting characters like the heroine’s best friend and the people at home all add color and life to the story.

There are some comparisons/parallels drawn with the protagonists namesake from the poem. Even though I have not read the poem, and do not know much about it, it did not take away the beauty of this story for me. The simplicity of the language and the way the author has written the story makes it seem as though the words are just flowing together flawlessly.

This is a lovely story that consists all the elements of love, hurt, friendship and self-discovery. A brilliant mix, it tells us a wonderful tale that will definitely move the reader.

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