By: Rosanna Eleanor Leprohon (1829-1879)
Armand Durand, published in 1868, was written by Rosanna Leprohon, an English-speaker with an insider’s knowledge of French Canada, thanks to her Montreal education and marriage to a man from an old Québécois family.
Paul Durand, a prosperous Québécois farmer, marries in quick succession two very different wives, and fathers two very different sons. The first son, Armand, delicate and bookish, is destined for a legal career in the city; the second, Paul Junior, tougher and down-to-earth, continues life on the farm. The story deals with troubling aspects of parental, sibling, and marital relationships.
Armand Durand may be one of the best Canadian novels that no one has heard of. It was well received in both its English and French editions, but is today hard to find, especially in the original English. Silenced Sextet , a study of 19th-century Canadian women authors whose works were initially popular but later slipped into obscurity, offers this assessment: “it is a mature novel, valuable for its complex human relationships and also for its glimpses of Montreal life in Leprohon’s own time and of rural Quebec life in somewhat earlier days.” - Summary by Bruce Pirie