The Northern Isle of Dreams


Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-88823-055-9





Illustrations by Judie Shore
Reviewed by Sheila Martindale

Sheila Martindale is poetry editor of Canadian Author and Bookman and
author of No Greater Love, her sixth collection of poetry.


This is a “once-upon-a-time” story in the true tradition, complete with medieval dress, castles and carriages, and a certain quaintness of speech.

A rich merchant answers his king’s summons and finds himself embarked on a different kind of journey than the one he had planned. We travel with him and his companions “on the road from youth to age,” and watch as he is forced by circumstances to revise his scale of values.

In proper fairy-tale fashion, the battle between good and evil is fought (and, of course, won). Peace and war wage their own struggle, and swords really are melted down into ploughshares.

The Northern Isle of Dreams of the title is “always in sight, yet never at hand” until our protagonist has stripped himself of wealth and material possessions. Once the Isle is attained, the brotherhood of man magically becomes fact. And yet the conflict is not over, for that which was destroyed by war and men’s evil ways must be repaired and rebuilt.

Most of the characters in the story are well drawn, others are disappointingly incomplete. The ending, while appropriate, is weak in comparison with the body of the tale. Nonetheless, Christine Laporte has succeeded in writing a narrative that works at several levels and that will appeal to a variety of age groups.

The illustrations by Judie Shore add to the texture of the story and its historical and mythical setting.


Laporte, Christine, “The Northern Isle of Dreams,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 12, 2024,