My books in English
1847. Fionnuala, age seven, loses both of her parents to typhus during the voyage of a « coffin ship » carrying her family to North America. She finally reaches Quebec City safe and sound with her eldest sister, Amanda.
The two young girls are placed on the Cloutier family farm, but are ill treated and lead a life of misery. Amanda manages to escape with a travelling merchant, leaving her little sister alone.
Fionnuala, now called by her French name Fanette, runs away two years later. Alone on the road, Fanette is nearly hit by a buggy driven by Emma Portelance, a charitable woman who lives in Quebec City. Devoted to the poor, Emma brings the young Irish girl home to live with her and her protégée, Eugénie.
Destiny takes a new turn when Emma decides to adopt Fanette, who receives a good education at the Ursuline convent. After her graduation, Fanette falls in love with Philippe Grandmont, the son of a well established notary who despises her because of her modest Irish origins, and will stop at nothing to prevent the marriage.
While Fanette is happily married to Philippe Grandmont and gives birth to a beautiful little girl, her sister Amanda is less fortunate. After her protector’s savage assassination, she is left near death in the snow and is rescued by a young neighbour who takes her to his nearby farm.
Shortly after, Amanda is forced to leave the farm when the parish priest discovers she is pregnant. Obliged to beg in the streets of Quebec after the birth of her child, Amanda encounters a seemingly generous woman who offers her shelter.
Meanwhile, Alistair Gilmour, a rich lumber lord, invites Fanette and her family to his new chateau. Both charming and mysterious, Gilmour has lost his beloved sister, Cecilia, who drowned tragically years before.
Convinced that notary Grandmont is responsible for his sister's death, the Lumber Lord designs a deadly scheme that endangers both Fanette and her husband.
About Suzanne Aubry
I was born in Ottawa, but I was not alone: my twin sister, Danielle, arrived an hour before me. We joined a family of four other siblings, and a little brother followed a year later...
Both my parents were authors. My father was also a librarian and, each week, he brought home a huge pile of books. There was a moment of great joy when my sister and I opened these books: The sweet smell of paper and ink, the beautiful images, the words written across the pages were like magic to us.
I think I always wanted to write: I kept a personal diary at age seven... Of course I don't recall a word of it, only the excitement of putting sentences together.
After my parent's divorce, the four younger siblings moved to Montreal with our mother. Montreal represented a monumental change from Ottawa. It was a big city, with wide streets and an effervescent culture. I developed a passion for theatre and entered the National Theatre School of Canada at age 19. I graduated in playwriting three years later. The National Theatre School was my alma mater where I learned about storytelling, structure, creating strong characters and dialogue. I became a full-time playwright.
Though I loved writing for the theatre, I could not make a living out of it, so I turned to television and became a professional screenwriter. I greatly enjoyed those years. It was exhilarating to be able to do what I loved most, writing, and all the while be paid for it...
About ten years ago, I decided to write my first novel, inspired by my childhood as almost all first novels are... It was important for me to portray the life of an eccentric and touching French-Canadian family in Ottawa before those times were forgotten. This novel was published in 2006 and selected for the 5th Edition of the Archambault Prize for a first novel. The novel didn't win, but I caught the "novel writing virus"... I love to be alone at my desk, like a conductor leading an orchestra, without any deadline or constraints others then the ones I give myself...
In 2007, I started to write Fanette, my historical fiction series. I did an enormous amount of research, and wrote 5 to 7 hours a day. I was deeply moved by the fate of the Irish families who struggled to survive and strived for a better life in a foreign country. I realized that these lives from the past were very close to me. My ultimate goal was to resuscitate them through fiction so that readers could learn more about the hardship and destinies of Irish immigrants, who played a tremendous role in the history of Canada. More than seven years and 3,500 pages later, I completed the seventh and last volume of the series. The first two volumes are available in English.
Potatoes were the main source of food for the Irish population in the 19th Century. Ireland's climate favored the cultivation of potatoes, which provided very nourishing meals. Here's two recipes using potatoes as a main ingredient. Bon appétit!
My delicious Gratin Dauphinois!
The Gratin Dauphinois is a typical French meal that you can serve to accompany any dish, from fish to poultry or beef… It is absolutely delicious, easy to make and, believe it or not, low fat and healthy!
. About 2 pounds of potatoes (preferably red potatoes or cooking potatoes)
. 1 ½ cup of milk (I use 2% milk)
. 1 large clove of fresh garlic (crushed)
. ¼ cup of fresh Parmesan cheese (grated)
. A few nuts of butter
. A sprinkle of powdered nutmeg
. Salt and pepper to taste
. Preheat the oven at 425F
. Peel the potatoes, rince them and dry them carefully
. Cut the potatoes in thin slices
. Place the potato slices in regular rows in a casserole dish that goes in the oven
. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small pan (don’t boil the milk!), with the nutmeg and garlic.
. When the milk is hot, take out the clove of garlic
. Add the hot milk to the plate until it covers the potatoes up to ¾
. Add salt and pepper
. Top with the grated cheese *
. Add the nuts of butter (it’s not mandatory, but it’s delicious!)
. Cook in the middle of the oven for about 25 minutes, until the potatoes are nicely grated and milk has been almost totally absorbed.
* The typical Gratin Dauphinois does’t have cheese, but I love it!
My Vichyssoise soup with pear sherbet
. 2 or 3 fresh leeks, diced
. 1 medium onion, diced
. 2 medium red potatoes, cut in cubes
. 4 cups of fresh poultry broth (or organic poultry broth)
. 2 tablespoons of butter
. Fresh chives, cut in small pieces
. Salt & pepper, to taste
. 4 small scoops of pear sherbet
. 1 teaspoon of cream for each portion
. Melt the butter in a thick pan
. Add the leeks & the onion
. Cook them slowly until transparent
. Add the broth, bring to a boil
. Lower the heat to low-medium
. Add the potatoes
. Add salt & pepper
. Cook until until the potatoes are tender (about 20-25 minutes)
. Let the soup rest until it cools down
. Put the soup in the blender and puree it
. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving (you can make this soup the day before & keep it in the fridge until serving)
. Pour the soup in each bowl
. Sprinkle on the chives
. Add cream
. Add a scoop of sherbet for each bowl.
(If you cannot find pear sherbet, you can replace it with thin slices of pear, cooked slightly beforehand in a little butter.)
Your guests will love it and think you have taken cooking courses from a famous Chef... :)