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Island Girl

From orphan to military wife

Nimbus Publishing

The life story of Mary Elizabeth LeBlanc in Jackie Muise's Island Girl is compelling and moving, not because she was highly unusual, but because she experienced, suffered, survived, and triumphed over challenges commonly faced by ordinary people during her era. She did so with inspiring fortitude and grace. Orphaned at an early age on PEI, she lives first with lightkeepers at Souris East Lighthouse, then with a St. Georges farming couple, Dolph and Jeannette Gallant, who become her beloved lifelong parents. With wartime, Mary is transplanted to Nova Scotia, where Dolph works in the Pictou shipyards building cargo ships, and where she marries Pictou native Fred Leblanc, who becomes a soldier. Afflicted and critically ill with tuberculosis, Mary dwells at length and gives birth in the Kentville sanitorium. Prevailing, she devotes herself to the roles, sometimes draining, often fulfilling, of a military wife and mother. During postings in Germany and New Brunswick, she copes with and finally confronts her husband's alcoholism, while nurturing children through their struggles and victories. When we arrive at the end of Mary's long life and story, we deeply admire and miss her as if she were our own cherished and extraordinary relative. We agree with the Chronicles of Narnia author C.S. Lewis that "There are no ordinary people."