"Farmer does a yeoman’s job in setting the poem in prose. . .
A grand tale told by a wonderful storyteller."
Owen Sound Sun-Times
"Farmer has reinvested this classic adventure tale with plenty of historical detail and character traits that will surely bring it alive for many new readers."
- Eileen Zimmerman Nicol
"The book is beautifully written and does a good job of bringing the characters to life. Evangeline is symbolic of the strength of love and of a people's capacity for endurance."
- Sue Asher, Historical Novels Review
"Farmer delivers an evocative impression of American colonial and frontier life; his descriptions of everything from the Maryland frontier to a Louisiana swamp settlement give a real sense of the New World’s newness. A meticulously-rendered setting . . a passion-driven plot."
- Publishers Weekly
"A historical romance written in unadorned prose, Farmer’s Evangeline will satisfy readers who allow themselves to swoon, who enjoy sentimentality . . . a kind of fiction that’s underrepresented in U.S. bookstores."
- ForeWord Magazine
"The thing that sets Farmer’s book apart is that it is pretty close to the original story as told in Longfellow’s poem...accurate and interesting."
- Baton Rouge Advocate
"The book faithfully follows Longfellow''s poem but adds background material on characters Gabriel Lajeunesse and Evangeline Bellefontaine."
- Lafayette Daily Advisor
Harriet Klausner, Midwest Book Review:
As part of the royal eviction, lovers Evangeline Bellefontaine and Gabriel Lajeunesse are separated, deported, and sent to different areas in the colonies that leave them several hundred miles from one another. Evangeline makes a concerted effort to find the love of her life. Her trek is dangerous but she believes it is worth it though he may be in the lower English colonies, out west amidst the French colonies, or as far away as the Louisiana bayous where many Acadians ended up after the "Great Expulsion"; she chooses Louisiana on a decade odyssey accompanied by trapper Bernard Arseneau and priest Father Felician.
Ben Farmer provides an intriguing novelization of the classic Longfellow poem. The story line brings to life the French-British conflict in North America as it intrudes on colonial existence. Although the history overwhelms the cast even the title character, readers will enjoy Mr. Farmer's detailed impressive look at the impact of the hostilities between the French and British had on the North American colonists and the regional Indian tribes.
Evangeline Bellefontaine is a pretty, proud, accomplished daughter of the elderly Benedict, who dotes on her. Despite her mother's death shortly after her birth, she has lacked neither love nor educational opportunities. Growing up amidst a close-knit community in Acadia (what is now known as Nova Scotia), she has learned to read and speak English as well as her native French. Along with most of her countrymen, she is clear-eyed and sensible about living smack in the center of frequent skirmishes between the French and British, which have been going on for generations. They have kept their land by remaining neutral, and there is no reason to think that this batch of Redcoats will be any more difficult to handle than the last. Besides, she has her upcoming wedding to Gabriel Lajeunesse to think about. As a concession to the unrest, they will be married outside in the forest at a small ceremony officiated by their old family friend, Father Felician Abadie.
Yet they are sadly mistaken, and the British this time are serious about occupying their lands --- so serious that the villagers are tricked into town and taken prisoner. Gabriel's father's loud public protests against the English make him and his son targets, and soon Evangeline suffers the heartache of seeing her beloved Gabriel and his malcontent father rowed out to a waiting ship. Over the next few days hundreds of locals follow, stowed below deck on the crowded ships until they sail. The descriptions of the makeshift shelters on the shore, replete with trunks of precious items left behind, are among the most poignant in the book.