Skip to main content

Folger's Virtual Book Club

Catch-up with previous sessions

2023/2024 Season

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.

Discussion Questions

About 'Daughters of the Deer'
Folger Spotlight

About 'Daughters of the Deer'

The Folger Spotlight

Introductory information on the March 2024 Folger Book Club selection, which imagines the author’s ancestors in the Algonquin territories of the 1600s.

'Daughters of the Deer' Resource Guide
Folger Spotlight

'Daughters of the Deer' Resource Guide

The Folger Spotlight

Resources related to Daughters of the Deer by Danielle Daniel.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

February 2024

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

December 2023

Beheld by TaraShea Nesbit

November 2023

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

October 2023

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

September 2023

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

August 2023

2022/23 Season

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

June 2023

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

May 2023

A Tip for the Hangman by Allison Epstein

March 2023

Booth by Karen Joy Fowler

February 2023

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

December 2022

Ramón and Julieta by Alana Quintana Albertson

November 2022

Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor

October 2022

Learwife by JR Thorp

September 2022

2021/22 Season

Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalola

June 2022

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

May 2022

If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio

April 2022

The King at the Edge of the World by Arthur Phillips

March 2022

The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish

February 2022

All’s Well by Mona Awad

December 2021

The Porpoise by Mark Haddon

November 2021

Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch by Rivka Galchen

October 2021

We That Are Young by Preti Taneja

September 2021

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

August 2021

2020/21 Season

Sweet Sorrow by David Nichols

June 2021

Circe by Madeline Miller

May 2021

A Bright Ray of Darkness by Ethan Hawke

April 2021

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

March 2021

The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami

February 2021

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

December 2020

License to Quill by Jacopo della Quercia

November 2020

I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem by Maryse Condé

October 2020

The Shakespeare Requirement by Julia Schumacher

September 2020

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

August 2020