Circle of Light
202 Pages

Circle of Light



Circle of Light is a coming of age story, set in the French Canadian community of Northern Ontario, during the Second World War. Lucy must decide if she will compete for a scholarship, but she must also define her relationships with her family, her friends, and with her fresh love. When the novel first appeared in 1989, it was short-listed for the Ruth Schwartz Children's Literature Award, for the Canadian Library Association's Children Awrad, and for the Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Literature.
Fans of the book will once again find Circle of Light available, now as an ebook !


Published by
Published 22 June 2016
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EAN13 9782924310236
License: All rights reserved
Language English

Legal information: rental price per page €. This information is given for information only in accordance with current legislation.

Circle of Light
Eliane Corbeil - Roe
ISBN 978-2-924310-23-6
éditions fpc
From her desk on the window aisle, Lucy had been watching the clock on the front wall of the empty classroom. At a quarter past four exactly, the bell in Saint Margaret's church steeple released a solitary "Bong..." into the dark winter sky. Today was the third time she'd had to stay after school to "discuss" the scholarship competition with Sister Andrew. It would also be the last, because this time Lucy was determined to convince her teacher that she wasn't going to enter.
The rest of Lucy's class would have left the school yard by now, but she could tell from the distant shouting that some of the boys had stayed to shovel the snow from the skating rink. Hoping Gabriel would be there, Lucy had decided to go out by the boys' door and walk past the rink.
At this hour nothing outside was visible, because
the early darkness had transformed the window into a mirror. In the uneven, separate, panes of glass, the eighth-grade classroom became a huge picture puzzle with pieces that didn't quite fit together, with some parts repeated and other parts missing. Lucy could see her own broken-up reflection, a shadowy figure leaning forward, arms folded on top of her desk with row upon row of empty desks behind her, the round white ceiling lamps like full moons illuminating everything with the same cold light.
Lucy could also see Sister Andrew's reflection, sitting in the front row next to Laurence Constantine. It was probably because Sister Andrew had only been at Saint Margaret's since last September that she hadn't yet given up trying to help Laurence learn enough to graduate. Laurence was sixteen and as tall as a grown man. Lucy watched his wide shoulders straighten in the cramped chair desk and heard him say hesitatingly, "Eighty-one square feet?"
"That's correct!" Sister Andrew said, and gave Laurence’s paper such an enthusiastic tap with her pencil that the edge of her black veil fell over the sleeve of his checkered lumberjack shirt. The sight of the bright-red squares, dulled by the black filmy cloth, struck Lucy as unlucky, like walking on a grave.
Lucy drew her arms in close and shivered just as the school's front door, one floor down, slammed shut with such force that she felt the worn floorboards tremble beneath her feet. A moment later Yvonne and Mariette, the class monitors for the week, rushed into the room, laughing and pushing each other as they returned the cleaned blackboard erasers to their places along the ledge. With their squeaky whisperings sounded exactly, it seemed to Lucy, like two mice.
Yvonne and Mariette's only remaining task was to water the pots of yellowed, spindly geranium plants on the windowsill. When they reached the plant closest to Lucy's desk, both girls turned at
once and looked directly at her. Then they looked at each other, raising their eyebrows as if shocked at seeing the top student in the class being kept after school on the very first day after Christmas vacation.
Lucy closed her eyes. In a few minutes she too would be free to leave. She tried to picture Gabriel — light-brown, curly hair and smiling brown eyes. He was the nicest-looking — and the nicest — boy Lucy had ever known. It had seemed unlikely from the first that he would ever notice her, with all the popular girls, like Madeleine Larose, crowding around him every day after school. But one day before the start of Christmas vacation Lucy had passed quickly by the group surrounding him and started the walk home from school by a shortcut she often used — a steep, rocky path from the school yard to the street in front of Saint Margaret's Church. And while she was climbing, someone called, "Lucy ! Wait !" When she looked back, there was Gabriel hurrying to catch up.
"I'm on my way to the church to help Father Martin train the new altar boys for Christmas services," he explained as soon as they'd both reached the top. But Lucy was too overwhelmed to say anything. "Where are you going ?" Gabriel asked after an awkward pause.
"Home," Lucy answered hoarsely.
Gabriel had climbed the steep path with Lucy almost every day until school closed for the Christmas holidays, even on days when there'd been no altarboy training, and even though he lived in the opposite direction. They'd stood by the church steps afterward and talked before going their separate ways.
A loud noise broke through Lucy's reveries and made her eyes snap open. Laurence had stood up, raising the loose hinged seat, which had fallen back with a crash. "Thank you, Sister," he said, his deep voice echoing through the empty classroom. When he turned to leave, he noticed Lucy for the
first time. By tomorrow Laurence and Yvonne and Mariette would have spread the news that they'd seen Lucy Delaroche still sitting at her desk after everyone else had gone. Gabriel would hear of it and wonder what she'd done.
To avoid Laurence's curious stare, Lucy watched Sister Andrew carry her chair back to the teacher's desk and take out the notebook she wrote in every day. "I'm not forgetting you, Lucy," she said. ''Why don't you come over here?''
Lucy stood up resolutely, but by the time she reached Sister Andrew's desk, her knees were shaking. To calm herself, she followed the elegant loops and curves forming, as if by magic, under Sister Andrew's pen. Even reading upside down Lucy could tell that each letter was perfect.
Sister Andrew had replaced Sister Felicity, who had taught the eighth grade at Saint Margaret's longer than anyone could remember. Lucy was one of the few who had liked the new teacher from the
very first. Almost everyone else in the class thought Sister Andrew made them work too hard. "She must think she's teaching at a university," had been the complaint.
But Lucy enjoyed Sister Andrew's lessons, which were sometimes confusing but always exciting, like challenging puzzles to be solved. Ever since Lucy had first learned to read, her older brother, Victor, had checked out books for her from the upstairs section of the Rockford Public Library, where children under twelve were not allowed to go. When Mama said she was worried that they were too difficult for someone Lucy's age, Victor told her, "Books that are too difficult are the best kind."
Lucy had started to look forward to coming to school — until the first time Sister Andrew asked her to stay after class and tried to persuade her to represent Saint Margaret's School in the province-wide scholarship competition. Lucy had refused and thought no more about it. But a few weeks later