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Nevers: 10/01/19

Nevers

Nevers by Sara Cassidy is set in Nevers, France a few years after the revolution. Odette and her mother arrive by cheese cart, escaping from another disastrous marriage. Both want a permanent home, but so far they haven't had any luck.

Anneline, Odette's mother has nearly the same luck with men that Penny does in the "Dead Man's Treasure" episode of Avengers (13 March 1968). She's had slightly better luck in that she's managed to get married a few times, and to have a child with her first husband.

Odette, though, is the adult of the relationship. She has learned something from each of her step-fathers, including how to read, and how to speak Latin. Her skills will come in handy in Nevers when she meets an unfortunate donkey who brays at night in what sounds like Latin.

If you've read Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig (1969), you will see where the plot of Nevers is going. The difference is that the characters are human, and the curse is manifested differently.

This Canadian novel also fits into the road narrative spectrum. The travelers are a mother and daughter — a family (33). Their destination is a permanent home (66), which they feel will be Nevers, for reasons neither can articulate when they first arrive. Their route to home is the Blue Highway (33). More precisely, it's the road the cheese wagon takes to bring them to Nevers. All together, Nevers is the story of a family taking the Blue Highway to a new home.

Three stars

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