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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
It’s the middle of the eighteenth century, the English are at war with the French, and the English have set their sights on ridding the colonies of any French settlers. Rose is Acadian, not really French, but the English view her and her family as French – aliens, spies, and a nuisance to the community. In one harsh move, the English herd the Acadians from their homes, forcing them to board ships, and splitting up families and friends in the process of relocating the unwanted people. They are taken to places unknown, and many die at sea. Those who survive are indentured and become nothing more than slaves to their new masters. This is Rose’s plight until she finds a way out and manages to reconnect with some of her family, loved ones she believed she would never see again. Only the journey isn’t over yet, and there will be more tears as they must part once again to make way for a new life in a new land.
Sheila Flynn Decosse’s historical fiction novel, Rose Alone, chronicles a difficult period in Canadian history. Following the journey of one Acadian, Rose, the plot unravels through heartbreak, loss, suffering, starvation, bullying, prejudice, and so much more. The stalwart young lady matures and blossoms under the trials of multiple separations and the loss of loved ones she’s not sure she’ll ever see again. The story is told with apt descriptions of the setting and strong, believable characters. Dialogue is well orchestrated and used effectively. The historical background has been well-researched and is woven delicately into the plot. The reader will instantly feel the angst of the protagonist, Rose, as she struggles on her journey so far away from home. Like Alex Haley’s epic novel, Roots, this is a powerful story.