The Spanish Boy by C.S. Reardon

The year is 1936 and the Clarey family of Halifax, Nova Scotia is, by all accounts, a typical family. The father, Charles is the latest owner of Clarey Paint and Glass, a business started by his grandfather. Charles and Mary Clarey live in a house with their children Edith (Edie) and Mel. Their oldest, Gus is away at a seminary college in Antigonish. Mel’s best friend Lawrence (Lawrie) Shine lives across the street.… Continue reading

Letters from Beauly: Pat Hennessy and the Canadian Forestry Corps in Scotland, 1940-1945 by Melynda Jarratt

the Second World War, hundreds of New Brunswick woodsmen joined the Canadian Forestry Corps to log private forests in the Scottish Highlands as part of the Canadian war effort. As the call to war was answered by woodsmen in England and Scotland, it left a skills gap that needed to be filled. So, England looked across the Atlantic for experienced woodsmen. Patrick “Pat” Hennessy of Bathurst was one of them.… Continue reading

Weaving Water by Annamarie Beckel

Author (and former St. John resident) Annamarie Beckel once conducted behavioural research on river otters* for her doctoral thesis and her fourth novel, Weaving Water (2016, Killick Press) is about Beth, a fiftyish woman who teaches Biology at a university but longs to get back into research, specifically river otters. Her husband Alan is a veterinarian and has just come into ownership of a dilapidated cottage once owned by his Aunt Kathleen on Medicine Rock Pond, about a four-hour drive from St.… Continue reading

Waiting for Still Water by Susan White

Award-winning New Brunswick author Susan White’s newest young adult/middle-grader novel is Waiting for Still Water, a book centred around an extended family composed of foster children, past and present, who have been under the care of the redoubtable Amelia Walton, who owns a farm on Walton Lake on the Kingston Peninsula. Over the years, Amelia (a foster child herself) has fostered many children and has just one rule for her charges: “Do your part and spend an hour alone at the lake”.Continue reading

A Long Ways From Home by Mike Martin

Instalment #5 in Mike Martin’s Sgt. Windflower Mystery series finds the Grand Banks Newfoundland RCMP officer monitoring a relatively peaceful motorcycle gang show of strength in the province, only to discover two dead bodies in its wake. This, along with tracking down a missing female motorcyclist has Windflower stretching his limited resources to the full.

Sgt. Winston Windflower is a Cree from Alberta but loves life in Newfoundland with his dog Lady, and his long-time sidekick Corporal Eddie Tizzard.… Continue reading

Full Speed Ahead: Errol’s Bell Island Adventure by Sheilah Lukins

This is the story of a young mouse named Errol who takes a ride on a ferry and visits the mines of Bell Island. Errol’s best friend, Old Rat, has told him wonderful stories about how the mice and rats first came to Newfoundland as stowaways on the big sailing ships. Errol longs to have his own adventure but his parents are unhappy when he strays too far from their garbage box home.… Continue reading

The Money Shot by Glenn Deir

Ever since anchorman Peter Mansbridge (CBC’s The National) announced his plans to retire, the search has been on for a replacement. I propose that Sebastian Hunter the male protagonist (and more often than not, antagonist) of Glenn Deir’s irreverent novel The Money Shot (2016, Breakwater Books) be given a ‘shot’ at the top job.

The author (who is a former CBC television reporter) describes Sebastian as an “unscrupulous rake”.… Continue reading

Redemption Songs by Jon Tattrie

Redemption Songs won a 2017 The Very Best! Book Award for Non-Fiction.

do Nova Scotia, Black leader Marcus Garvey, and Rastafarian musician Bob Marley have in common? Very little, you might think until Jon Tattrie weaves some literary and historical magic to make it all seamlessly fit together in Redemption Songs (2016, Pottersfield Press), a treatise against racism and the false “colouring” of humans.
It was in 1937 that Marcus Garvey, who was close to death, gave an epic speech in Sydney, Nova Scotia in which he praised the town for “giving the Negro a chance.” However, it was the following passage from Garvey’s speech that was to inspire Bob Marley decades later to write “Redemption Song” the last cut on the last studio album he was to record:

“We are going to emancipate our minds from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind.”

Redemption Songs is one of those books that clarify, enlighten and educate at the same time.… Continue reading