Please welcome to the blog, author Laura Frantz! Today, we’ll be talking with Laura about her latest release THE SEAMSTRESS OF ACADIE.
Can you give our readers a peek inside?
Sylvie Galant and her Acadian family are caught between the warring French and English on Nova Scotia’s rugged, contested shores. When she encounters renowned enemy and Army Ranger William Blackburn, he warns her that the British are poised to invade. Rather than participate in the heinous expulsion, he resigns his commission before a charge of treason is brought against him. Soon Sylvie loses all she’s ever known as the British expel the Acadians from their homeland and land her in Virginia. Bereft of family and friends, she encounters William once again, and they must work through the complex tangle of their shared, shattered past to navigate the present and forge an enduring future.
What was the inspiration for your novel?
I’ve always been fascinated by Acadian history, which is the most heartbreaking I’ve ever researched. I was disappointed to find few novels that deal with Acadie, which, aside from Longfellow’s poem Evangeline, seems to have been buried since the eighteenth-century expulsion.
Your two protagonists, Sylvie Galant and William Blackburn, are on opposing sides in Le Grand Dérangement of 1755. How did they first meet?
Sylvie and William have a rather charming first meeting by a well in Acadie that is based on a bit of subterfuge and secrecy. Their attraction is instant and mutual, as it so often is inexplicably even in real life.
Sylvie and William later find themselves on ships headed to Virginia. Can you provide a brief summary of the events leading up to their departure from Acadie?
Acadie, present-day Nova Scotia, had long been a battleground between the French and English since its founding in 1604. The conflict worsened in the eighteenth century as each nation fought over contested territory. In 1755, the Acadians were deprived of their weapons, detained as prisoners, and then forced onto ships to destinations unknown. In the novel, William leaves Acadie first with his Rangers on a sloop in late summer 1755 before the deportation of the Acadians begins. Sylvie follows on a ramshackle transport ship in early fall.
What led to William’s decision to resign from the British army?
William has a profound change of heart and purpose. A spiritual awakening as a prisoner of war among the French led to an about-face in terms of his military career, culminating in his refusal to take part in the Acadians’ deportation.
Prior to the British invasion of Acadie, Sylvie Galant was a seamstress. How did her profession play a part in your story?
Each of us is gifted with the ability to do certain things well. Sylvie is no different. Since childhood, she has plied her needle in a way that causes other people to take notice. To her,
it is just routine until she begins to see her skill as a means to navigate her new, unwanted life in a hostile land. Personally, I grew up with a grandmother who was an accomplished seamstress and sewed my clothes, even historical garments. I don’t sew myself but am in awe of those who do!
Can you please describe the setting for your novel and why this is important in the overall plot?
If you visit Nova Scotia, you soon realize why the British fought hard to win it and why the Acadians took strong measures to keep it. Epic in scope and beauty with forests and fields and mountains, coastlines and islands, it’s truly a one-of-a-kind place and makes the ideal novel setting. I hope readers experience some of that beauty within the novel’s pages.
What are some of the themes found within The Seamstress of Acadie?
Love, loss, trust, new beginnings. Life is one of continual change. How we navigate those changes is a constant challenge both in fiction and in real life.
What do you hope readers will experience when reading your novel?
That beauty can be seen amid the heartbreaking history and cause us to look at the heartaches and hurdles we face today in a different light.
Where can readers purchase a copy of The Seamstress of Acadie?
Baker Book House has a preorder sale of 40% off, free shipping, a signed bookplate and bookmark, and a small, novel-related surprise. The book is also available in paperback and e-reader on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online book retailers.
How can readers connect with you?
I’m active on these social media channels and regularly post on my website’s journal page: www.laurafrantz.net
Thank you so much for joining us today, Laura.
Reader’s THE SEAMSTRESS OF ACADIE just released! Here’s a quick look::
As 1754 is drawing to a close, tensions between the French and the British on Canada’s Acadian shore are reaching a fever pitch. Seamstress Sylvie Galant and her family–French-speaking Acadians wishing to remain neutral–are caught in the middle, their land positioned between two forts flying rival flags. Amid preparations for the celebration of Noël, the talk is of unrest, coming war, and William Blackburn, the British Army Ranger raising havoc across North America’s borderlands.
As summer takes hold in 1755 and British ships appear on the horizon, Sylvie encounters Blackburn, who warns her of the coming invasion. Rather than participate in the forced removal of the Acadians from their land, he resigns his commission. But that cannot save Sylvie or her kin. Relocated on a ramshackle ship to Virginia, Sylvie struggles to pick up the pieces of her life. When her path crosses once more with William’s, they must work through the complex tangle of their shared, shattered past to navigate the present and forge an enduring future.