Queen of Hearts

Queen of Hearts

Book - 2010
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Finalist for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People and the IODE Violet Downey Book Award, and an American Library Association Notable Children's Book and a Kirkus Reviews Best Book

It's 1941, and Canada is two years into World War II. Meanwhile, in rural Manitoba, fifteen-year-old Marie-Claire Cote begins a war of her own as she and her brother and sister, all stricken with tuberculosis, are taken by their anguished parents to "chase the cure" at nearby Pembina Hills Sanatorium.

While her roommate retains a dogged cheerfulness that is both heroic and irritating, Marie-Claire resists with all of her prideful strength while she fights her own illness and tries to seek privacy where there is none. Her father, overwhelmed by fear and guilt, never visits. And her young brother, Luc, who is losing his battle with TB in another wing of the infirmary, sends notes to her penned for him by his nineteen-year-old roommate, Jack Hawkings.

This is a story about surviving loss, and finding friendship, and love, in surprising places.

Publisher: Toronto : Groundwood Books, c2010
ISBN: 9780888998286
0888998287
Branch Call Number: BROOKS
Characteristics: 208 p

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Cdnbookworm Apr 04, 2013

This teen novel is set in rural Manitoba in 1941-42. Marie Claire Côté is fifteen and living with her parents and younger sister and brother near St. Felix. Her wandering uncle Gérard comes to visit as he has often in the past, but this time he stays longer. He isn't well, and finally is diagnosed with tuberculosis. There is a sanatorium on the other side of the valley from the Côté farm, and Gérard goes there. His pet name for Marie Claire is Queen of Hearts and the two have a special closeness. Even though she is told not to, she sneaks away to visit her uncle.
When her younger brother Luc gets a bad cold and their hired man leaves, Marie Claire is drafted into helping out, working hard either with her father out on the land or with her mother in the kitchen. She becomes lethargic as well, and when her brother takes a turn for the worse, all three children are found to have tuberculosis and go into the sanatorium. Marie Claire takes it hard, at first rebuffing the offered friendship of her roommate Signy, a girl slightly older than her. But then she finds that the sanatorium is its own world, and begins to form relationships.
This is an interesting novel of a certain time in our history, and one gets a sense of the world Marie Claire lives in.

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