She Has Always Moved Between Worlds,
But Now She Must Choose a Side
The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval would rather remain neutral in a world tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the Seven Years’ War against her wishes when her British ex-fiancé, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel claims he has information that could help end the war, and he asks Catherine to help him escape.
Peace appeals to Catherine, even if helping the man who broke her heart does not. But New France is starving, and she and her loved ones may not survive another winter of conflict-induced famine. When the dangers of war arrive on her doorstep, Catherine and Samuel flee by river toward the epicenter of the battle between England and France. She and Samuel may impact history, but she fears the ultimate cost will be higher than she can bear.
I’ve enjoyed previous titles by Jocelyn Green, so it was great to have the opportunity to read and review Between Two Shores. After I read the excerpt I looked up Catherine’s people, the Kahnawake which is a branch of the Mohawk Nation. It was interesting to learn that they are members of the Iroquois Confederacy – the Haudenosaunee – as are the Seneca people who reside on a reservation near me in western New York. Where the Seneca are the “Keepers of the Western Door,” the Mohawk are a branch of the “Keepers of the Eastern Door.”
Jocelyn Green takes us back to the 18th century, when America was split between France and Great Britain and the two countries fought over the land. Between Two Shores is set entirely in the land we now know as the province of Quebec, in Canada, and covers a period of time leading up to the pivotal Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759. At this time, the Mohawk were still allied with France although the people were beginning to distrust the French. Catherine Duval is undoubtedly caught between her French and Mohawk families, but she isn’t the only one. Her father owns a young man and a girl – both English – that he redeemed after they were captured by Indian raiding parties and the French.
There’s a fair old chunk of history within these pages. As someone born and raised in England, who never knew about this time period, I didn’t know that the French and Indian War (to which I was introduced when living in western Pennsylvania) was part of the larger Seven Years War. The struggle between the British and the French would ultimately involve numerous land swaps around the world, but the focus here is purely on Quebec, the effects the larger war had on the area, and the difficulty in staying neutral. Catherine’s wish of wanting the war to end will force her to make hard decisions and re-evaluate the importance of various people in her life.
There are incidents in the narrative that will make the reader recoil or shudder. The Mohawk were brutal to their perceived enemies. But the actions of the French and British soldiers don’t make for pleasant reading at times either. Then there is the description of the battle, and battles are never pretty. Jocelyn Green has created characters that will surprise and shock you with their behavior. Just when you think you have someone figured out, they do something to throw you off. There was one character I never warmed to; a tribute to Green’s writing skill. I was also surprised by the non-traditional ending. Skip ahead to it and you’ll be disappointed. You might not even want to read the entire book, which would be a shame. Personally, I’d like to see more of Catherine’s life after the epilogue.
Thank you to Bethany House and Jocelyn Green for my complimentary copy of Between Two Shores.
Do you plan to read Between Two Shores? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Bethany House (an imprint of Baker Publishing)
Publication Date: 05 February 2019
Page Count: 416