CBL's Canadian journey
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British Columbia - The Suspect by L. R. Wright
Manitoba - I Am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkby
New Brunswick - The Wise and Foolish Virgins by Don Hannah
Newfoundland and Labrador - The Danger Tree by David Macfarlane
Northwest Territories - Journey by James A. Michener
Nova Scotia - My Famous Evening by Howard Norman
Nunavut - Darkness at the Stroke of Noon by Dennis Richard Murphy
Ontario - Except the Dying by Maureen Jennings
Prince Edward Island - Land of the Red Soil : A Popular History of Prince Edward Island by Douglas Baldwin
Quebec - A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny; The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny; Déjà Dead by Kathy Reichs; The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny; Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
Saskatchewan - Who Has Seen the Wind by W.O. Mitchell
Yukon - Gold Digger by Vicki Delany
The fourth book in the series, The Murder Stone, could be read as a stand-alone. However, it isn't quite as typical of other books in the series since it isn't set in the village of Three Pines.
I knew very little about Newfoundland before I read this book. One of the surprising things I learned was that, in the decade prior to WWI, the newsprint for London papers like the Daily Mail and the Times came from paper mills in the interior of Newfoundland.
I was fascinated by the histories and the family stories in the book, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a non-fiction read for Newfoundland and Labrador.
My review is here: http://www.librarything.com/work/146247/reviews/51140349
For this challenge, I wanted to find a book by someone other than L.M. Montgomery for Prince Edward Island. It's not that I don't like her books, because I do. It's just that my entire impression of Prince Edward Island comes from her books. I wanted a different perspective.
This book is exactly what it says in the subtitle -- a popular history. There are no footnotes/end notes, and no bibliography. The writing, while a bit dry, is clear and doesn't demand a lot of effort from the reader. The book covers the history of the island from its first inhabitants through the late 1990s. One of the surprising things I learned about the island is that it's possible to drive to it without taking a ferry. As of 1997, the island is connected to the mainland by the Confederation Bridge. It will be of most interest to people with Prince Edward Island connections and to tourists either preparing for a visit or wanting a reminder of their trip.
Some books combine character, place, and story in a way that draws readers completely into its world, and stays with us long after the last page is turned. For me, these books are often coming-of-age stories about young women, like Catherine Marshall's Christy, Gene Stratton-Porter's A Girl of the Limberlost, and L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables. Now I can add Mrs. Mike to the list. If Katherine Mary O'Fallon knew what waited for her when she married her Mountie, Mike Flannigan, she might have had second thoughts. It's hard not to admire her courage and stamina as she discovers the beauties and hardships of the Canadian wilderness and learns to live in it. I'm grateful for all of the LibraryThing members who brought this book to my attention. Highly recommended!
4 1/2 out of 5 stars.
Edited to add that I discovered there's an old Hollywood movie based on the book. I've already got it ordered!
Victory Point, King William Island, Nunavut. When people speak metaphorically about the "ends of the earth", this is one of the ends. It's remote, barren, cold, dark, and, above all, dangerous for the eight-member archaeological team excavating remains of the Franklin Expedition. Not all of the team members will live to announce their findings to the world. When Mountie Booker Kennison arrives to investigate a fire that resulted in the deaths of two team members, it soon becomes clear that the fire is only the beginning of the dangers threatening the people at the site.
The author was a writer for film and television, and it shows in this novel. There is more action and description than reflection, the chapters are fairly short like scenes in a film, and the imagery is vivid. The author tried to pack too much into the story, though. It's easier for film viewers to suspend their disbelief during an uninterrupted 90 minutes of fast-paced action than for readers to do the same over several days of reading in between other activities. I hope I'm not giving away too much by saying that the body count eventually became ridiculous.
The characters were, for the most part, very well drawn. Had the author lived, I think he could have adjusted his story development from screen writing to novel writing. This book was good enough to make me want to read another one by this author, and it's a shame there won't be any more.
I rated it 3 out of 5 stars.
Brian O'Connel's family lives in a town on the edge of the Canadian prairie. As Brian ages from four to twelve, he stores up memories of events – his loneliness when his baby brother's life-threatening illness consumes all of his family's attention, his grandmother's sternness, the hatching of baby pigeons, the new friend who shows him where God lives, learning the rules the hard way on his first day of school, meeting the boy who lives on the prairie, getting his first dog. Brian senses that these things and events are important, and that there's more to them than he can see and understand. Like Jesus' mother, Mary, he “treasured up all these things and pondered them in (his) heart.”
All readers will identify with the boy Brian and his playmates. Even though I grew up in a different era than the book describes, it brought back memories of things I thought I had forgotten. Older readers may identify with Grandmother McMurray, Brian's mother's mother, who lives with the O'Connels. As her world shrinks from age and infirmity, Grandmother's thoughts turn more frequently to her homesteading days as she gazes at the prairie through her bedroom window.
I listened to the abridged audio version on a road trip. The author's performance far exceeded my modest expectations. He has the voice of a master storyteller, and it stirred strong memories from my childhood. His voice and inflection sounded a lot like broadcaster Paul Harvey, whose voice I heard almost every day on the radio during my childhood.
Edited to fix a typo.
The author's narration enhanced the book for me. I know I would have liked it had I just read it instead of listening to it, but I might not have rated it a 5. Now Il want to read the book to find out what I missed in the abridged audio version.
After reading about the Klondike Gold Rush in the newspapers, Lord Evelyn Luton takes a notion to travel to the gold fields in Canada. He's more interested in the adventure than in striking it rich, and for patriotic reasons he determines to travel within the confines of the British Empire, without straying into the United States. His stubborn refusal to take any of the easier routes that would take his party through Alaska leads to tragic consequences for his traveling party.
Since I'm not an outdoorsy person, I don't usually read wilderness adventure stories unless there is some other aspect to the story that appeals to me. In this case, I was drawn to the history of the gold rush and to the characters who formed Lord Luton's party - four men from England's privileged class and an Irish servant. One of the travelers carried Palgrave's Golden Treasury, and the poems or fragments of poems scattered through the novel are some of my favorites from my high school days - Robert Herrick's "The Poetry of Dress" and "Counsel to Girls", Shelley's "Ozymandias", Milton's "On His Blindness".
This book would be a good choice for supplemental reading in a course on leadership. It illustrates the folly of refusing to alter one's plans in light of new information or a change in circumstance.
Edited to add rating
Members of the party in Journey realized that the group's leader was making disastrous choices. Other team members tried to reason with him, but none of them were willing to defy his decisions once the decisions were made.
In I Am Hutterite, author Mary-Ann Kirkby reflects on a happy childhood in a Hutterite colony, the pain of leaving the communal life just before her 10th birthday, and her journey of fitting into the English world, a bitter-sweet process since her family did not sever its social ties with their former community when they moved away. Kirkby's insider's view depicts a community where everyone is valued and contributes to community life. Although families live in family units, children are nurtured by the whole community, and all adults are called "aunt" and "uncle" whether related or not. Children have work to do, but there is also time for school and play. Community support allows families to care for aging parents at home.
While colony life provides security, Kirkby's memoir shows that it doesn't always provide peace. Kirkby's parents made the difficult decision to leave their colony after years of discord between Kirkby's father and the colony's leader, who was also her mother's brother. Kirkby shows great sensitivity in writing of the breach between her parents and her uncle. She describes her uncle's flawed leadership style without bitterness or vindictiveness. By the end of the book I had developed a great respect for Kirkby's parents and their sincere faith.
Kirkby's stories about some of her failed attempts to fit into the English world are humorous, but must have been painful for her at the time. Her challenges included packing a school lunch that looked like other students' lunches and figuring out just who or what this Walt Disney was that the other children talked about every Monday.
The author's descriptions of food, particularly fresh produce and berries, made my mouth water. I'm glad I read this during the summer so I can satisfy these cravings! Only one recipe is included in the book. Many readers will want more. I think a follow-up recipe book would be a great idea.
Readers who like the currently popular Amish fiction will probably like this book even though there are many difference between Hutterite and Amish communities. Readers interested in living and eating locally might also enjoy the book. Although the book is published by a Christian publishing company, the focus of the book is on lifestyle rather than theology and should have a wider appeal. Highly recommended.
In a small New Brunswick town, the lives of several people from dysfunctional families are about to collide. Sandy lives among the crumbling relics of his family's past glory as prominent citizens of the town. Perhaps out of duty, he is working on a book about the town's history, but can't get past the first sentence. Margaret, who lives with her sister Minnie in their childhood home, is haunted by childhood memories, and resents her much younger sister who escaped the terrors of Margaret's childhood. Teen-aged Chaleur spends hours in the woods to escape from his unloving mother, brother, and stepfather, remembering happier days before his father's death. Gloria tries to will her family to happiness through telling and retelling stories from their shared past.
The events of the book and the revelations of character are often dark and twisted, yet there is enough humor to prevent the mood from becoming completely oppressive. This isn't a happily-ever-after story, yet I was left with the impression that these formerly isolated individuals, by acknowledging the things from their pasts that have troubled them even in their dreams, have connected in a way that makes future contentment possible.
I have a fairly low tolerance for strong language and graphic sexual content, and there was much more in this book than I'm comfortable with. If I had known ahead of time about the content, I wouldn't have chosen to read the book. The characters wrestle with complex moral issues and emotions such as guilt, forgiveness, faith, love, and purpose. People with a higher tolerance level for graphic content may find much to contemplate here.
Thank you for the review cbl... I think we share the same lower tolerances, so it is good to know about that book.
The Wise and Foolish Virgins has a lot of positive qualities, and a lot of readers will like it. I'm just not the right audience for the book. I'm glad that my explanation of why it wasn't the right book for me is useful to someone!
Newspaper reporter Jack Ireland managed to antagonize almost everyone in Dawson as soon as he hit town. Soon he ends up dead on the stage of the Savoy dance hall. It will take all of owner Fiona MacGillivray's savvy and charm to get to the bottom of the murder to prevent the loss of her business.
The mystery wasn't too difficult to figure out, but there is so much more to this book than the mystery. Dawson and the Klondike gold rush come to life in the setting and characters. The perspective alternates between first and third person, and Delany gets Fiona's voice just right. Like Amelia Peabody, she is a force to be reckoned with, but with more personal charm and a somewhat disreputable past. Fiona's 12-year-old son, Angus, isn't as obnoxious as Amelia's Ramses, but he gets up to just as much mischief. This is a great series debut, and I'll definitely be reading the next book in the series.
I'm not finished with this thread. I've enjoyed this challenge so much that I'm planning a Canadian category for next year's 11 11 Challenge.
I know I've got at least one more visit to Quebec coming up soon. I snagged a copy of Louise Penny's Bury Your Dead in the July ER batch.
I'm always torn when I read one of Louise Penny's novels. I want to finish it as quickly as possible to learn the answers to the mysteries central to the book, yet I want to linger as long as possible in the world she's created. As much as I love Three Pines, I was even more enchanted by the Quebec City of Bury Your Dead -- its blend of Old World and New World charm, of French and English culture. The murder's setting in a historical society's library and the connection to a historical mystery about Champlain, combined with the atmosphere of Quebec City, make this a favorite book in a favorite series.
If you're new to this series, please don't start with this book. It is inseparably connected to the previous book in the series, The Brutal Telling, and that book should be read first.
I received an advance reading copy provided by the publisher through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program.
5 stars. Full review here:http://www.librarything.com/work/9841764/reviews/63380679
I agree that Penny creates a wonderful setting. I'm currently reading Still Life, the first book in the Gamache series.
Mathgirl, I think Bury Your Deadwill answer a lot of those unresolved questions for you.