Zoé didn’t set out to hurt anyone. It just happened. When she replaces Cheska Murphy, the deceased Office Administrator at St. Cecilia’s church, she finds herself drawn into the eccentric lives of the mentally-damaged characters that she befriends. She’s quickly sidetracked into the past life of a very troubled Cheska. Suspicions lead to clues, and clues land Zoé straight into the shoes of the dead woman. Cheska died under mysterious circumstances, and Zoé becomes fixated on investigating the death of a woman who seems never to have known love. She forges a special bond with the blind priest, Father Grace, but when he won’t talk about Cheska, she embarks on an obsessive quest for the truth. Zoé probes deeper into the seedy underbelly of the parish. Too late to turn back, she engages in reckless pursuits, and in the process, betrays and hurts people along the way.
My story will show you a piece of yourself reflected back.
I'll Buy You an Ox: A Novel (no longer in print)
Zoé LeBlanc grew up in Cape St. Mary, an Acadian village over-looking the Atlantic on Nova Scotia's southwestern shore. This is the compelling tale of a young girl's triumphs in the face of tragic loss and cruel adolescence amid a large family that struggles against poverty and isolation. Zoé seeks reprieve from turbulent family life with her manipulative childhood friend Estelle, and later with a kinder friend, Babette. But it is her relationship with her deluded father, Antoine, that binds her to the Cape. Though she experiences loneliness in her small rural village, Zoe's life is shaped by oxen and lupines; dried cod and rappie pie; village gossip and family members; "la maudite brume"-- fog--that envelops the Cape in one fell swoop; and ultimately the forgiveness that growing up allows.
Published in 1997 by Nimbus Publishing in Halifax. Winner of the Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction.
This novel is no longer in print; however, there is a good chance that it will be republished at a later date.
Testimonies A story of coming-of-age in an Acadian village…of resilience of the human spirit faced with painful and even tragic circumstances…of women and abuse; a story populated by compelling characters, which gives remarkable insight into the mores of Acadian life in rural Nova Scotia in the fifties and sixties. —Paricia De Méo, Dalhousie University A story written with a power that comes from writing about what the author knows, clearly and objectively, without either sentimentality or bitterness—and with a wealth of particular observations. —Germaine Comeau, Université Sainte Anne
George Elliott Clarke, an award-winning author, poet and playwright—winner of the Portia White Award, seven honorary doctorates, Governor General’s Award, and the list goes on—has critiqued ‘I’ll Buy You an Ox” as one of the best books of 1997. He credits the novel as “...packed with images and inexhaustible memories of a rural seascape...enough plot, local color, character development, and captivating language to keep one turning the incident-filled pages...a novel chock-full of magnetic details...the tales delivered with accuracy, empathy and often, grace...a powerful beginning, a clarion debut, from a writer from whom we must hear much more.
Boudreau-Vaughan has an ear for the Acadian voice, and an eye for the bleak beauty of the French Shore. Even death, which brings the book full circle, manages to unite rather than unravel this remarkable family. —Atlantic Books Today
Vaughan resembles an Acadian Harper Lee, writing about the innocent antics of youth that make for such wonderful reading, like “To Kill a Mockingbird.” —Chere Coen, "Sunday Advocate Magazine”, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The novel is bone-chilling to the core, with pride, fear and desperate isolation running through every vein of the story. Vaughan’s style is simple and straightforward with a lyrical edge, her writing like a poetic song... “A strong-minded dream has no season” is the thought I will carry with me from this novel. —Review by HN MacDonald on WWW
A novel with many powerful characters...Boudreau Vaughan will be hard-pressed to repeat its power in a second novel, but we can hope. —Rosalie MacEachern, The Evening News