The Coral Bride is a detective novel, set in Gaspésie (the Gaspé Peninsula) in Eastern Quebec. “Gaspé” is taken from the Micmac word meaning “end”, as in the end of the land.
It is Roxanne Bouchard’s sixth novel and was published in 2020. She writes in French and lives in Québec.
The hero is Joaquin Moralès, a detective sergeant in Sûreté du Québec, the provincial police force. He grew up in Mexico, migrated to Québec, and then moved to Gaspésie for the final stage of his police career.
As I mentioned in another recent blog post, my knowledge of Canada is almost nil. In the past, I have thought of it as a possible winter destination – during the ice hockey season. Québec – the city and the province – would have been high on the list of places to go, vying with Nova Scotia.
In normal times Scotland usually has summer flights to Canada (mostly Toronto) because of the huge connection between the countries resulting from migration.
Bouchard’s book has certainly raised my interest in going to Canada, and the eastern parts in particular. Because I speak good French, Québec has always made me curious. I know from various sources that my metropolitan French is a long way from the French spoken there, but it is a start.
I enjoyed the book a lot, and not just because it transported me to somewhere new and interesting. It is well written.
“Unfortunately for him, the wood had been covered with a sheet of metal to stop the rain seeping in, and it made a hell of a racket. As he fell arse over elbow into the tumbling logs, the Bernard sister, a hefty French-Canadian battleaxe, had stormed out of the house brandishing a rolling pin.”
I bought another of Bouchard’s books at the same time, so I am looking forward to it now.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2021
Have you read the Tempe Brennan (forensic anthropologist) series of books, set in Québec and North Carolina, by Kathy Reichs? There are now about 20 in the series. The early books were well written but the recent books have become somewhat formulaic.
As for speaking French in Canada, I am fairly fluent in French but I’d never fool a native speaker. I was therefore surprised that in darkest Québec nobody ever asked where I was from.