Thursday, July 15, 2010
A Place To Call Home
“Rowena was dumbfounded by her first glimpse of Launston Mills. Then angry. For this they had travelled more than three thousand arduous miles? For this handful of log cabins and a mill that had the audacity to give themselves a name?”
That arduous journey had involved travelling 8 weeks from Ireland in the filthy, dank hold of what became a “plague ship” when cholera swept through, killing a fifth of the passengers. After quarantine on Grosse Isle, downstream from Quebec City, Rowena O’Shaughnessy and her family spent a further two months making their way by barges and oxcarts and on foot into the primitive backwoods of Upper Canada. A land of opportunity for those who had the stamina of mind, body, and spirit to survive.
Their hardships are detailed in my first novel, A Place to Call Home, which has just come back into print.
Rowena’s complex relationship with the wealthy and powerful Launston family leads to tragedy, and eventually to redemption. Their lives are played out against a rich tapestry of events - devastating plagues, doomed rebellions, mob uprisings, religious conflict, and political unrest - many of which are based upon the history of my hometown of Lindsay.
This is a tale of passionate people and stormy relationships, of unrequited and illicit love, of betrayals and revenge. It is a story of courage, and the undaunted human spirit that manages to survive and surmount appalling conditions and tragedies. It is a celebration of the achievements of the remarkable pioneers who carved thriving communities out of an inhospitable wilderness.
Here’s what Writer's Digest Magazine had to say about it:
"A Place To Call Home is a gripping and fascinating saga about an Irish family's immigration to Canada and the building and founding of the [fictional] Ontario town called Launston Mills. Wills masterfully traces the development of the town, told through the eyes of Irish immigrant, Rowena, and her son, Keir. The historical facts were flawlessly researched, but rather than it reading like a series of facts, Wills peopled the book with vivid and very real characters whose experiences captivate the reader. .... An exceptionally well-told story... A Place To Call Home offers a delightful glimpse into Canada's past, told through characters who come to life and jump off the page."
Find out more about the novel, including reviews and readers' comments, on my website Mindshadows.com, where books can also be purchased online. The novel is also available as and E-book for the Kindle. Check it out here.