After the success of Bird’s Eye View, local author Elinor Florence was ready to tackle a new novel. The result is Wildwood, now available for sale.
Mark your calendar for the book launch of Wildwood, taking place Wednesday, March 14th at the Pynelogs Art Gallery & Cultural Centre. The unique event will include a short talk by Ms. Florence, a cash bar and refreshments, as well as a pie contest.
Wildwood, set in the landscape north of Peace River, Alberta, tells the story of a single mother who must spend one year living in an abandoned off-the-grid farmhouse in order to claim her inheritance. Her heroine Molly learns the pioneer arts while battling with the brutal wilderness. During her struggle, she is inspired by the journal written by her great-aunt, the original homesteader.
Ms. Florence read lots of pioneer memoirs in preparation for the writing of Wildwood, with the book’s idea coming from wondering how a young woman, born and raised in a city, could or would be able to cope with a lack of amenities in a setting similar to early pioneer days.
Ms. Florence has always admired the early pioneers and wanted to pay tribute to them in this book. Sprinkled throughout the pages is a diary by Molly’s great-aunt and the stories mirror each other in some of their challenges, 100 years apart.
“The pioneers were extremely optimistic and resourceful,” Ms. Florence reflects. “I admire the quality of those people who chose to leave everything behind and start anew.”
While there are no plans right now for a sequel, Ms. Florence admits, “I can’t help thinking about it.”
Ms. Florence grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan and worked as a journalist in all four Western provinces before moving to Invermere, where she has lived for the past 22 years. She published the Columbia Valley Pioneer until 2010, when she turned her attention to writing fiction.
Her first novel Bird’s Eye View, about a Saskatchewan farm girl who joins the air force in the Second World War and becomes an interpreter of aerial photographs, was published in 2014 and became a Canadian bestseller.
The response to Wildwood has been enthusiastic, with reviewers on Amazon and GoodReads praising Ms. Florence’s story-telling and historical details woven throughout.
“The author has successfully layered the plot with much more than the anticipated drama. It is populated with characters that leap off the pages, meaningful sub-themes and crystal-clear, well-researched description,” writes reviewer Elaine Thomas.
The book launch is sponsored by the Invermere Public Library and Columbia Valley Arts. Pick up your copy today at the Invermere Library for $20 (proceeds go to the library), and bring it to be signed at the book launch on Wednesday, March 14th at 7 p.m. at Pynelogs Art Gallery & Cultural Centre, or buy it at the launch.
In keeping with the novel’s historic theme, everyone is encouraged to dress in pioneer costume. There will also be a Pretty Bonnet contest, so feel free to decorate your headgear with your best buttons and bows. And because the novel’s heroine learns to bake a pie in a wood oven, the book launch will also feature a Blue Ribbon Pie Baking Contest. It isn’t necessary to bake the pie in a wood stove, but you are welcome to bring your best pie!
The Invermere Library is also hosting a book club session on Wildwood Tuesday, March 13th from 1-2 p.m. For more information, call (250) 342-6416.