Jean Baptise Charbonneau has lived a somewhat charmed life so to speak. Born in 1805 in the wilderness to his mother Sacagawea and father Toussaint Charbonneau, who just happened to be the translator for Lewis and Clark on one of many adventures they took, making their way trading as they went across the frontier, along the Missouri River to the far reaches of the northern parts of the river.
As 1823 arrives, Baptise is 18 yrs old, working in the frontier when he meets Duke Paul of Wurretenburg (Germany). The Duke is taken by Baptise immediately for their shared interests in studying the animals, the plants and certain articles of clothing to bring back to his country to study further.
He then asks Charbonneau to accompany him back to Paris and Wurrentberg with him so that he may explore the place he calls home.
Unimagined wonders await Baptise after the long journey across the endless river is just the beginning. The new people, protocols, animals, situations, customs are all new to him as well as an older woman who teaches him the ways of the aristocratic. There is a deeper meaning for Baptise being here as well, Duke is studying Baptise under a watchful eye to see if there are any changes in Baptise as well and how he accustoms himself to a new place.
After a time, Baptise is torn between leaving for home – the wilderness, his family, familiarity. Will he decide to stay in Paris or go home?
I liked the descriptive narrative of this book. The nuances of the newest of things, to something previously researched, it awaits him with new eyes and feeling, even as he crosses the Atlantic every day gives him a new perspective and excitement to learn.
Friday, I will be hosting Thad during a Q and A that I have done with him, so stay tuned !