Silence of Stone (Breakwater Books 2008). During a colonizing expedition to New France in 1542, Marguerite de Roberval, a young French noblewoman, falls in love with a soldier. The commander of the expedition and Marguerite’s guardian, Jean-François de Roberval, is so outraged at her scandalous behaviour and the disgrace she has brought upon the name Roberval that he abandons Marguerite, her lover, and a servant on the Isle of Demons, somewhere near Newfoundland and Labrador.
Marguerite survives …
Based on historical accounts, Silence of Stone imagines a story of romance, a fierce will to live, revenge, and the redemptive power of a child’s love.
Released in 2010 by Guy Saint-Jean Éditeur, Laval, Quebec, as Les voix de l’ile.
and Happenstance Books & Yarns, Lakefield, ON (705-652-7535)
Excerpts from reviews of Silence of Stone:
“Annamarie Beckel’s novels are drenched in history, or, more specifically, herstories. She writes of women in imperiled times … Silence of Stone is the imagined narrative of Marguerite de Roberval, marooned on the Isle of Demons for many months in a 16th century exile … All this is described with immediacy and conviction … The research deftly underplays the narrative, which is succinct, graphic and lyrical.”
Joan Sullivan, The Telegram
“The dialogue, paired with Marguerite’s embittered internal monologue, makes for some razor sharp commentary on life, love, and even God himself … Beckel has produced a well written and stylistically distinctive novel … Also commendable here is Beckel’s impeccable character development … In the end, it’s not just the classic, sad story of Marguerite de Roberval that makes this novel so memorable. Beckel’s innovative diction resonates in the reader’s head long after they’ve put the book down.”
Chad Pelley, Current
“Just as we are believing that Beckel has created simply a masterful portrait of people in a time dominated by a powerful church and ever-shifting loyalties, we realize that Silence of Stone is also, in its unassuming way, a murder mystery … Beckel’s haunting and powerful prose breathes singular life into a shadowy historical figure … As Marguerite remains unsure what is real and what is not – and what is the spirit world – so do we, as readers … Take Silence of Stone with you on summer vacation. You won’t want to have to interrupt your reading to cook supper, drive kids to school or do whatever other mundane chores your regular life demands of you.”
Jean Graham, The Northeast Avalon Times
“The book is a page-turner, not least because of the circuitous geographies of exile and strange registers of island captivity the young heroine, extraordinarily, is forced to endure … Beckel’s rich negotiation of this mythic story arc (the island as Other) to conjure a fantasy experience of nightmare opens into the possibility of islandness as a dynamic, living, interconnected life world … In a sense, it is the openness and freedom of the island, its utter absence of fixed meanings, paths, or patterns that draws Marguerite into the depths of exposure and vulnerability that subsequently incur her deepest humanity.”
Judith P. Robertson, University of Ottawa, Island Studies Journal 4(2)
“Silence of Stone is a deeply emotional tale told from the viewpoint of the character Marguerite, as she looks back on (and is still clearly traumatized by) her horrific ordeal years after it’s over … Marguerite is a powerfully emotional character you won’t soon forget … Silence of Stone is a true page-turner.
Ashley Colombe, Downhome Magazine