Marie Claire, Book 2: A Season of Sorrow


99 pages
Contains Maps
ISBN 0-14-331209-X
DDC jC813'.54




Illustrations by Tarif Tarabay
Reviewed by Sylvia Pantaleo

Sylvia Pantaleo is an associate professor of education, specializing in
children’s literature, at the University of Victoria. She is the
coauthor of Learning with Literature in the Canadian Elementary


Stinson’s second book about Marie-Claire and her family is set in
Montreal in 1885. Marie-Claire’s brother, Louis, returns from fighting
in the West and the family is happy to be reunited. But then
Maire-Claire and her sister, Emilie, contract smallpox and are
hospitalized. Emilie dies and Maire-Claire’s mother, haunted by her
decision not to have the girls inoculated, falls into a deep depression.
But her life gains new purpose when Maire-Claire invites a family that
has been devastated by a fire to live with them. The book ends on a
positive note with news that the death toll from smallpox is steadily

A Season of Sorrow is part of the Our Canadian Girl series, which tells
stories of girls across Canada at various times in history. The book’s
introduction explains the nature of smallpox and its emergence in
Montreal, the controversy that surrounded a vaccine, and the impact of
the disease on people’s lives. A timeline at the back of the novel
provides readers with a historical context. Louis Riel is mentioned
several times in the text, and an appendix outlines his significance to
the story and to Canadian history. Overall, this novel provides readers
with an accessible and pleasurable way to learn about Canadian history.


Stinson, Kathy., “Marie Claire, Book 2: A Season of Sorrow,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 14, 2024,