Marie-Claire, Book 1: Dark Spring


80 pages
Contains Maps
ISBN 0-14-100328-6
DDC jC813'.54




Illustrations by Sharif Tarabay

Mary St. Onge-Davidson is president of the Essential English Centre in


The Our Canadian Girl series chronicles the lives of young Canadian
girls from 1608 to 1949. The heroine of Dark Spring is 10-year-old
Marie-Claire, an extraordinary young girl from a working-class family
that is living in Montreal around 1885 (in the wake of the smallpox
epidemic). This is a Montreal where the air is polluted with factory
smoke and the rivers are contaminated with raw sewage; at the same time,
it is a city of opportunities for rural inhabitants of Quebec, as well
as for immigrants from England, Scotland, and Ireland.

Dark Spring is a story of hardship, coping, and the reality of growing
up. Following a series of family setbacks, Marie-Claire is forced to
leave school and stay at home in order to help her seamstress mother. As
she begins to care for her siblings and manage all the household chores,
she is faced with the constant challenge of difficult times.

The author’s careful attention to simple details lends authenticity
to her account of this fascinating period in Canadian history.


Stinson, Kathy., “Marie-Claire, Book 1: Dark Spring,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 14, 2024,