Ben Farmer, author of the forthcoming debut novel Evangeline, will appear on the Virginia Festival of Book in Charlotttesville on Friday, March 19. Ben will participate in a panel discussion ("True Stories of Fact and Fiction") at the Central JRML Library at 2pm.
Inspired by Longfellow's eponymously titled epic poem, Ben Farmer's Evangeline is both a sweeping love story and harrowing journey from Nova Scotia in Canada to New Orleans in pre-revolutionary America. As the British drove the French out of mid-eighteenth century Acadia (present-day Nova Scotia), the beautiful seventeen-year-old Evangeline Bellefontaine is torn by British soldiers from her fiancé, Gabriel Lajeunesse, on the eve of their wedding. Heartbroken but determined, Evangeline—along with illegal trapper Bernard Arseneau and priest Felician Abadie—sets out on an extraordinary ten-year journey to the French-Spanish colony of Louisiana to seek her long-lost love.
Evangeline’s epic quest to find Gabriel brings her and her companions across North America’s colonial wilderness, through the French and Indian War, and into New Orleans’ rebellion against
Spanish rule. As they travel from Grand Pre, Nova Scotia in 1755 through Maryland, South Carolina, and eventually down into and through the swamps of Louisiana in 1769, it is the strengths and failings of Ben Farmer’s marvelously drawn characters that drive this grand tale, as they face adversity in a world of exile and war.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published “Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie” in 1847 and it remains his most popular and enduring work. While author Ben Farmer faithfully incorporates the essential elements of the epic poem, Evangeline, the novel, emerges as magnificent work of narrative fiction - artfully blending history, romance, adventure with an unforgettable character portraits. It is truly a singular achievement - rich in detail and panoramic in scope.