The year 1755 was a desperate time for the Acadian people in Nova Scotia. Their homes were burned, their property was taken and they were exiled to various parts of the American East Coast.
Many Acadians migrated to Louisiana where they formed what is now known as the Cajun culture.
A heroine with strength and courage relives this troubling time in Catherine’s Cadeau, a fictional account of this history, written by Terry Thibodeaux, professor of communication studies at SHSU.
“This is kind of a forgotten part of American history. This book allows us to tell a story that a lot of people don’t know,” Thibodeaux said.
Today at 11:30 a.m. in the 3rd floor atrium of the Lowman Student Center, Thibodeaux will read from and sign copies of his novel, which are available in the Barnes and Noble University Bookstore.
“It’s a fun story,” Thibodeaux said.
“It’s based on historical truth, so you learn a little history on the way and it’s written in such a way that you enjoy the story.”
The main character in Thibodeaux’s novel, Monique LeBlanc, visits Nova Scotia where she meets an elderly missionary who takes her back to the forcible exile of the Acadians.
“I’ve always been interested in the Cajun culture, I just never had an opportunity to get into a fictional work with it until now.”
Thibodaux, who has been researching the Cajun culture for more than 20 years, was asked to co-author the book with Ann Davidson. After five years of e-mail exchange and phone calls, the two have yet to meet.
“I had a lot of the background research already done. Ann is not Cajun, but grew up in one of the main areas where the Acadians were gathered to be shipped off to the U.S. and that’s what got her interested in the story,” Thibodeaux said.
As a Cajun descendent, Thibodeaux has had a connection with the culture for a lifetime.
“I never really understood what it meant to be a Cajun until I went to college and was able to look at it from an outside perspective,” Thibodeaux said.
The novel’s front cover, as well as various illustrations inside, were drawn by Thibodeaux’s son, Mark, an SHSU alumnus with a Graphic Design degree.
The novel is also available online at Amazon.com. Davidson and Thibodeaux have already written several chapters for a follow-up novel.