S.R. Mallery’s historical western, The Dolan Girls, gives us a colourful view of America’s wild west of the 1800’s. It was a time when cowboys and bandits were free to roam the countryside, women slept with a gun at a moment’s reach, and everyone lived by the motto ‘expect the unexpected’. Brothels and saloons were a necessary fixture in the unchartered towns, and Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley revered icons.
The characters are endearing—Minnie being my favourite—and the action is fast-paced. This is a highly enjoyable read. Looking forward to more from this talented writer.
Robert Skimin’s historical novel, Chikara, is an epic family drama of the two great countries, America and Japan. It spans from 1905 through the 1980’s and covers the early American racism against the Japanese settlers of California, the anti-American sentiment in Japan, the forced resettlement of Japanese people in American war camps, the bombing of Pearl Harbour as well of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. These historical events shape the characters’ dreams and ambitions, their lives and their spirit.
Sataro of the House of Hoshi, driven by his ancient samurai blood, has left his beloved Japan to seek his dream of power in America. His descendants will suffer the aftermath of his vision and as they too try to forge their own newer dream.
This a story that pays tribute to the Japanese Americans who persevered in the face of racism and established their cultural communities with hard work, honour and patience. Highly recommended historical reading!
That’s not a kneejerk yeah well you’re ugly and your mother dresses you funny response. Ask any writer, traditionally published or indie, our books are the children of our brains, and we’re protec…
Source: Most Indies shouldn’t ever publish. Well, most women shouldn’t have babies. #amwriting
Bride of New France, Suzanne Durocher’s’ debut historical novel introduces us to the famous Filles du Roi, sent over to populate the French settlements along the St-Lawrence River of Canada in the late 1600’s. These women, either orphans, the destitute, criminals or prostitutes endured a perilous journey across the Atlantic ocean to marry—not the dukes nor high officials who live in comfort within the village walls—but the fur traders who expect their imported wives to settle the land single-handed at the mercy of the weather and dangers of the neighbouring enemy. Totally unprepared for the harsh Canadian winters and hardships of farming the wilderness, they must also deal with roving husbands who are more interested in the freedom of life in the woods than meeting their domestic responsibilities.
The main character, Laure Beauséjour, must give up her dream of being a seamstress in Paris and is exiled to New France where she eventually marries an older coureur des bois who leaves her to fend for herself in a rickety shack in the dead of winter where she almost dies of starvation. Laure must learn to reach out to others in order to survive these brutal conditions.
The characters could’ve been more developed. Laure is a self-centered young woman whose decisions throughout the story effects the lives of those around her. There is no growth at the end of the story, which, by the way, is a bit quick and concise. It is, with all its ups and downs in terms of plotting and character development, a very enjoyable read and one I would highly recommend for its detailed historical depiction of early New France.
Follett’s novel, A Dangerous Fortune, deals with a major London bank at the end of the 19th century. The story starts at an exclusive Windfield School for boys where cruelty and treachery will seal the fate of a small group of boys. The story deals with several themes, but deceit is the most prevalent. Details of the drowning of a young boy, Peter Middleton, by his fellow student at a local quarry is kept secret for several decades. The characters involved never stray too far from the incident during the next 30 years as they either try to cover up or they attempt to find out the details of what really happened.The banking world is presented side by side with the poorer classes of society. The Prince of Wales appears at a posh party in one scene, while another scene depicts goings-on in a slummy brothel. Characters are also presented as being honest or deceitful, greedy or generous. They appeared a little stereotypical but the story was nevertheless a page-turner and a good read.
We find ourselves immersed in American history in Charles Frazier’s epic novel, Cold Mountain, where North and South face each other in a Civil War between their own countrymen. Three years after the outbreak of war, the characters are presented as disillusioned and in some way damaged emotionally, spiritually and in most cases, physically as well. Neither side is favoured since both are considered self-serving and perhaps dishonest in their motives. Although slavery is a main focus of the war, the story plot itself seems to zero in on the white’s man disregard of human dignity. Crime and cruelty, however, abound on both sides of the fence and neither southerner nor northerner captures all the blame.This is also, maybe more so, a story about two young lovers and their quest towards self-fulfillment through loneliness and isolation. The ending was quick and unexpected and left me wondering how else to close this spiritual journey of love and self-discovery. A great read with abundant descriptions of America’s mountain country.
Richard Wagamese’s heart-wrenching novel, Indian Horse, about racial discrimination against the Ojibway First Nation of northern Ontario in 1960s Canada,is a profound read. The emotions are raw and the pain is real. It describes the physical, sexual, and emotional abuse of innocent children at the hands of authority figures at St.Jerome’s Residential School, and the victim’s struggle to find a way to survive the pain.
Saul Indian Horse finds a way to repress his abuse by becoming a hockey star—his speed as he skates across the ice gives him a feeling of flight, of being untouchable. To sustain his stardom he must enter the white world where he is subjected to more physical and emotional cruelty from those who think ’hockey is their game’, and where there’s no room for Indian upstarts. His escape from this world of racial slurs and targeted physical abuse leads him to a dark path to self-destruction. To heal, he must confront and let go of the demons that have lurked within him since childhood.
This isn’t only the story of one man’s journey of survival and healing, nor is it strictly about the genocidal attempt to squash the culture of the OjibwayFirst nation—it is the story experienced by all the First Nations of North America and how their respect and devotion of Mother Earth has helped them heal and sustained their spirit to this day. Just as Saul will reclaim his talent as a hockey player by sharing it with the younger ones, Richard Wagamese, in sharing this story, is reclaiming the spirit of all the First Nations peoples who have suffered the evils of discrimination.
Kim Edwards’ captivating novel, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, shows how one lie told on the spur of the moment, can greatly affect the lives of those around you. Nora’s labour starts during a snowstorm and her doctor can’t make it on time for the delivery. Her husband, Dr. David Henry, with the help of his nurse, Caroline Gill, go ahead with the delivery. Nora gives birth to a beautiful baby boy, but when her labour pains start again, her doctor sedates her to ease her pain. When he delivers the second child, a baby girl with Downs Syndrome, he instructs Caroline to bring the child right away before his wife wakes up to a home for children with special needs. He then tells his wife that the child was stillborn. This is the lie that will forever alter his marriage, his relationship with his son, the life of Caroline Gill, and the life of the baby girl he has rejected.This is a story of deceit, of troubled relationships, and of how love and determination can overcome the intolerance faced by those with disabilities. It also brings us down memory lane when pregnant women were sedated on the delivery table and couldn’t participate in the birth of their child. A great read!