Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Virtual: Join The Folger Book Club in reading "Daughters of the Deer" by Danielle Daniel


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Words, Words, Words: A Virtual Book Club


Join the book club as we read Daughters of the Deer


Folger Book Club is pleased to announce our next book discussion – Daughters of the Deer by Danielle Daniel on Thursday, March 7, at 6:30pm (ET).

Participation is free. Click below to reserve your spot.

All discussions will be held in Zoom and we will also share the discussion questions, supplemental materials, and suggestions for sips and snacks in advance.

Hope to see you there!





Daughters of the Deer by Danielle Daniel


Daughters of the Deer
by Danielle Daniel
Thursday, March 7, at 6:30pm (ET)


In this haunting, groundbreaking, historical novel, Danielle Daniel imagines the lives of her ancestors in the Algonquin territories of the 1600s, a story inspired by her family link to a girl murdered near Trois-Rivières in the early days of French settlement.

Marie, an Algonquin woman of the Weskarini Deer Clan, lost her first husband and her children to an Iroquois raid. In the aftermath of another lethal attack, her chief begs her to remarry for the sake of the clan. Marie is a healer who honours the ways of her people, and Pierre, the green-eyed ex-soldier from France who wants her for his bride, is not the man she would choose. But her people are dwindling, wracked by white men’s diseases and nearly starving every winter as the game retreats away from the white settlements. If her chief believes such a marriage will cement their alliance with the French against the Iroquois and the British, she feels she has no choice. Though she does it reluctantly, and with some fear–Marie is trading the memory of the man she loved for a man she doesn’t understand at all, and whose devout Catholicism blinds him to the ways of her people.


This beautiful, powerful novel brings to life women who have literally fallen through the cracks of settler histories. Especially Jeanne, the first child born of the new marriage, neither white nor Weskarini, but caught between worlds. As she reaches adolescence, it becomes clear she is two-spirited. In her mother’s culture, she would have been considered blessed, her nature a sign of special wisdom. But to the settlers of New France, and even to her own father, Jeanne is unnatural, sinful–a woman to be shunned, and worse.

And so, with the poignant story of Jeanne, Danielle Daniel imagines her way into the heart and mind of a woman at the origin of the long history of violence against Indigenous women and the deliberate, equally violent, disruption of First Nations culture–opening a door long jammed shut, so all of us can enter




Why did we choose this book?

The Folger Shakespeare Library’s collection explores not only Shakespeare’s life and works, but also the plays’ historical context, source material, critical and performance histories, and the ways in which they inspire and are adapted by contemporary novelists.

Daughters of the Deer takes place in the late 17th century, when the Americas were being colonized by Europeans, forever changing the lives of those already living on the land. This time period is heavily reflected in the Folger’s collection from the European viewpoint; this novel allows us to reconsider such sources from other perspectives and gain a better understanding of those stories that may be absent from history.


Catch up with Homegoing


Not able to join us for February's discussion of Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi? The Folger Spotlight has introductory and supplemental material—including discussion questions—to help you explore the book or even host your own conversation.



We would like to thank the following sponsors for their generous support of Folger Book Club




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