My review of Piau – Journey to the Promised Land will follow the publisher’s blurb.
A glimpse into the life of Acadian folk hero Pierre Belliveau, known as Piau, who led his people into exile during the 1755 expulsion of the Acadians.
Acadian leader Pierre Belliveau, known as Piau, led hundreds of Acadians into the wilderness to escape the Acadian Expulsion. He vowed to lead them to the Promised Land, where they could live without fear of deportation. Over the years he became a prisoner of war, was deported to Boston, and built a castle before finally leading his people to Memramcook, New Brunswick, the Promised Land.
This historical novel, based on a true story, explores the armed and quiet resistance of the Acadian people and the Acadian figure who dedicated his life to securing the safety and well-being of his people. Told by a direct descendant of Pierre Belliveau, Bruce Murray, it is a story of suffering, courage, and hope.
Now in my early 40’s I find myself very curious about the historical origins of not only my country (the stuff they don’t teach you in history class) but also my lineage. I’m told I’m Acadian, perhaps even Acadian-Metis… I honestly don’t know much about either. In my high school History class, the Acadian exile was glossed over with a few words and there was no great detail given. It wasn’t something I thought about until I visited New Brunswick last year and was struck by the Acadian colors – everywhere. My father grew up in Nova Scotia, although I’ve only been there once – briefly – someday I would love to go back and take my time to discover and visit my heritage.
The forward to Piau – The Journey to the Promised Land is written by Canadian singer-song writer Ann Murray and sets the tone for the story to come.
If you don’t know who Pierre Belliveau is… don’t beat yourself up, neither did I. Perhaps because the novel is written by Bruce Murray, one of Belliveau’s direct descendants, it felt all the more special to read. I’m happy that Murray turned this book into a work of historical fiction. Honestly if it would have been a non-fictional account of facts, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up.
Piau’s own struggle between both with his French and English roots resonated with me immensely. I realised after seeing a certain name in the book that perhaps, deep along the branches of the family tree I could have some type of connection with Pierre Belliveau. I’d been told in the past that I was related to Germain Doucet, Sieur de La Verdure, I’ll have to investigate further.
The novel takes the shape of a journal or memoir. I loved the details in this novel, it wasn’t hard to picture myself going through the deadly winters or imagine feeling the wind on my face as I sailed off the coast.
I’m glad that Bruce Murray took the time to write Piau. I’m so happy I’ve read this important and dark part of Canadian history. Like I said before, The Acadian exile was only given a few passing sentences in my history class, almost like an afterthought. I never fully understood the depth of the Acadian exile tragedy until now.
If you enjoy history, I know you’ll love reading Piau – The Journey to the Promised Land.
Piau – The Journey to the Promised Land by Bruce Murray
Published by Dundurn Press
A copy of Piau – The Journey to the Promissed Land was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts and review.