Chronicles from Château Moines

Evelyne Holingue. Burel Press (evelyneholingue.com), $11.95 paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-9883905-1-5
French native Holingue stages this charming novel in a small village in Normandy in the early 1970s, braiding together American and French cultures via the alternating narratives of 12-year-old classmates Scott and Sylvie. Following the death of his French mother, Scott, a music-lover and budding political activist, has moved from Santa Monica, Calif., to Normandy with his sister and father. While Scott is flattered to discover that his American accent and blue eyes make him swoonworthy among the girls at his school, he has more pressing concerns as he continues to mourn his mother, feels disconnected from the antiwar movement in California, and adjusts to a life in the insulated community. As Scott spends more time with Sylvie, who is trying to build her courage as a songwriter, cultural and linguistic barriers begin to fall away. Though the dramatic conflicts are largely quiet and interpersonal, Holingue creates a vivid, multigenerational cast of provincial characters, addressing the simmering anti-immigrant sentiments within the village while evoking the larger political and social climate of the stormy era. Ages 8–12. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 01/19/2015
Release date: 10/01/2014
Genre: Children's
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