Tag Archives: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Getting Caught into Watching Television | Review of “Caught” by Lisa Moore (2013) House of Anansi

9781487004545

There is something engaging when we read a book and then watch a movie or a television show based on that book. Many of us readers do enjoy comparing and contrasting the plot lines from the two medium. And as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation prepares to air the latest production that comes from a work of fiction – Lisa Moore’s Caught – many of us readers are already familiar with the book and are keen to see it come to the screen.

Page 21 A Room with a View

Slaney walked up the wheelchair ramp that let to the side entrance of the bar. From there he had a view of rows of cabbages and fields of hay. The clouds tumbled backwards in folds and billows all the way to the horizon.

The door was held open a crack with a stone and it was very dark inside and stank of beer and cigarettes. Someone had been smoking weed. There was a yellow cone of light over the pool table at the far end of the room.

The bartender was a scrawny woman with long silver braids tied at the ends with read glass bobbles. Her skin was tanned dark and her eyes were pale blue. She ware bibbed overalls and had a pack of cigarettes rolled up in the cuff of her white T-shirt. Two pairs of eyeglasses hung from chains around her neck. She was emptying ashtrays form the night before.

If you’re here fro the dart tournament it was yesterday, she said.

Harold sent me, Slaney said. He said maybe there was a room I could crash.

Harold say anything about child support for his three youngsters by two different  mothers? The woman asked.

He never mentioned, Slaney said. She reached under the bar and shoved some things around on a shelf and came back up with a key on a wooden fob. She sent it sliding down the bar toward him.

There is something direct and bold in the story that Moore created in the story of David Slaney and his escape from prison in June 1978, but there is also something about the human condition that she has brought forward here. Yes, we get antics of a man on the run but at times we get the thoughts, fears, longings, hurt,  and other deep emotions that many of us endure in our day-to-day lives. It is going to be interesting to see if viewers of the TV show will empathize with Slaney and readers did with the book.

Page 109 Jennifer, Juniper

Before the first trip, they’d had their big goodbye on the sidewalk outside Jennifer’s Gower Street apartment, the Jamaican flag hanging in the upstairs window, sopping K-Mart flyers out the mailbox, her tears wet on his neck while she held him.

Jennifer had thought Alberta, not Columbia. Slaney had said he was going to Alberta for work and as soon as he landed a job he’d send for her and Crystal. He’d have a nice house set up for them he’d buy them everything they’d ever wanted, all the furniture and clothes and toys they could imagine. Jennifer wouldn’t have to worry about money anymore.

Slaney had bent down by the stroller and pulled out Crystal’s pacifier and kissed her and stuck it back in before she had a chance to scream for it. And Jennifer stood there on the sidewalk, one hand on the stroller, pulling it back and forth, waving with the other. She kept waving until the car had disappeared around the corner.

Moore’s descriptions in any of her works are vivid and direct and that is true of this book too. Any reader can visualize any scene or any emotion easily. And the story is bold yet unique. One can feel empathy for Slaney no matter what the situation that he finds himself in to be. In any case the book is a good read and the show should easily mirror the book’s great qualities as well.

Page 147 Skills

After four weeks and five days at the Mansonville cabin Slaney’s new passport was ready. He went to the office and picked it up, along with the driver’s licence and the birth certificate he’d mailed in, and then headed to the rain station and bought a tiecket.

The formality of the photography studio and the blast of the flashbulb had rendered an unfamiliar look in his passport photo. It was an odd angle. Something, perhaps the false name, made Slaney feel like he was not himself.

The large white umbrella in the studio had been set up to bounce light and there was the need to be unsmiling. There was a look of bafflement.

Bafflement is a precursor to wisdom, was that the picture made him think. The picture looked like someone who would have to wise up. They were embarking on the next adventure. They were going to be rich. Look out, world. The guy in the photograph was him and was not him.

The picture said, Look out.

Or it said: Bon voyage.

While it should be an interesting show, most book-fans will be eager to make comparisons to it and Lisa Moore’s book Caught. The book is bold and a unique read, which the show should be able to follow in it’s own right.

*****

Link to House of Anansi’s webpage for Caught

Link to the CBC’s website for the television series Caught

 

“To see that it was feasible to put the tragic events of 1880 behind and have a conversation was very inspiring.” | Q&A with Author and Explorer France Rivet

 France Rivet has worked tirelessly to bring forward the story of how two Inuit families were recruited in 1880 to travel to Europe and tour in a ‘human zoo’ where they perished and their remains were put on display in a Parisian museum. While her book, In the Footsteps of Abraham Ulrikab and the documentary on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s television show The Nature of Things – Trapped in a Human Zoo – brought forward the story to many people’s eyes, her story of how a meeting an individual donning the same Inuit hat as she had on turned into a quest to bring the remains of the group back to Labrador is a interesting one as well. Rivet took time out from her busy schedule to explain it here.
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1) How long did it take you to write In the Footsteps of Abraham Ulrikab? How did you first come across the story of Abraham and the rest of the group that went to Europe at that time?

A

 I first heard about Abraham’s story in July 2009 during a cruise along the Labrador
Coast. On the second or third day of sailing, a man appeared on the deck wearing an
Inuit hat identical to mine. I immediately knew that I had to talk to him. This man was
Hans-Ludwig Blohm, an Ottawa photographer of German origin. In 2005, Hans
contributed his photos to a book published by his friend German professor Hartmut
Lutz. This book, The Diary of Abraham Ulrikab: Text and Context, was the English
translation of the diary of a Labrador Inuk who had been taken to Europe in 1880, with
his family and three other countrymen, to be exhibited in zoos. Since the ship was
heading in the communities where these eight people came from, Hans highly
recommended that I go to the ship’s library to read the copy of the book he had brought.
That’s what I did. The story both shocked and fascinated me. But there was a piece
missing: the chapter explaining what happened to the Inuit when they were in Paris
where five of the eight Inuit died. On board the ship, Hans and I met Zippie Nochasak,
an Inuk whose family originates from Hebron, Abraham’s home community, and she
has the same name as Nuggasak, the first of the eight Inuit to die in Europe. Zippie had
just learned about Abraham’s story and she was very upset. In the fall of 2009, the three
of us met in Ottawa. When the subject of Abraham came around, I promised both Zippie and Hans that, my mother tongue being French, whenever time allowed, I would try to see if I could find any information about what happened in Paris.
I researched the story for three years, from winter 2010 to fall 2013. During that period, I
went to Europe on three different occasions. I stopped in Paris each time, and visited all cities in Germany where the Inuit had been: Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Darmstadt and Krefeld.
Prague is the only city I did not have a chance to visit before the book came out. I also
went to Oslo and Tromsø in Norway to research Johan Adrian Jacobsen, the person
who recruited the Inuit, and to meet with his biographer and a descendant of one of his
brothers.
b
The documents I gathered were in several languages: German, French, English, Norwegian, Inuktitut. So, before I could think of writing the story, I had to figure out how to translate them to English and French. Through Hans-Ludwig Blohm, I met
Professor Hartmut Lutz. Hartmut gladly authorized me to make us of the English translations he and his students did for The Diary of Abraham Ulrikab. As well, Hartmut volunteered to translate Johan Adrian Jacobsen’s diary from German to English as
well as the document I had found in Norwegian. On top of it, Hartmut recruited Jacqueline Thun who took care of all the translations from German to French. 2013 was therefore a busy year for translations!

In early 2014, I had enough to start consolidating all of the documents gathered. In

March 2014, I published the translations of the diary of Johan Adrian Jacobsen, as a
booklet entitled Voyage with the Labrador Eskimos, 1880–1881. Once that was done, I
tackled the book In the Footsteps of Abraham Ulrikab. I started with the French version
followed by the English one. It took me about four months to complete both
manuscripts. They had to be ready for early August 2014, in order to get the printed
copies in time for the August 31 departure for Labrador to meet with the Inuit elders, to
publicly announce the search of the Inuit’s human remains, and to start the filming of the
documentary Trapped in a Human Zoo.

2) How has the reaction been to In the Footsteps of Abraham Ulrikab? Are there any memorable experiences about the book you care to share?

So far the feedback about the book has been very good. People recognize the amount
of research that went into it. The book is not a novel and some parts are very “dry” to read
especially after the Inuit’s death. That’s when the story shifts to the vision of the
anthropologists, and of the scientific world. From that point on, the Inuit are seen as
mere bones! Some people had a hard time with that transition, as well as with the
scientific language which can be most difficult to understand. The study of the Inuit’s
brains sure confused me!
I could have omitted these documents, but the book’s primary purpose was to provide
the Nunatsiavut government, and the Inuit community, with as much information as
possible about the events that occurred in Europe, in order to help them make an
informed decision about the repatriation of the remains. So, in my opinion, they needed
to have access to these documents however unpleasant they are to read.
There are so many memorable experiences, but the first one that comes to mind is not really linked to the researching or the writing of the book, but with giving a copy of it to the descendants of the three individuals who had a major role to play in Abraham’s decision to travel to Europe: Carl Hagenbeck (the zoo owner who had the idea of
exhibiting people in his zoos), Johan Adrian Jacobsen (who recruited the Inuit), and
George Ford (Hudson’s Bay Company post manager who convinced Abraham to head
to Europe). In September 2014, when I sat beside Adrian Jacobsen, the grandson of
Johan Adrian, I simply couldn’t believe that I was with someone who had met one of the
main characters of the story I had been researching. Mind you, he was only 9 years old
and his grandfather over 90 in the early 1940s before Hamburg was bombarded by the
allies, but he still remembered listening to him tell stories of his adventures.
Unfortunately, Adrian had never heard of the Labrador Inuit and couldn’t shed new light
on his grandfather’s feelings or thoughts about what had happened. But, his smile and
the sparks in his eyes made for a most memorable discussion. It was also a privilege to
witness Adrian and his daughter having a friendly and joyful conversation with Johannes
Lampe, the representative of the descendants of Abraham and his group. To see that it
was feasible to put the tragic events of 1880 behind and have a conversation was very
inspiring.
c

3) You seemed to have done a bit of traveling to both the Arctic and to Europe for the book. Is that something you enjoy doing?

Absolutely, I have always enjoyed traveling, but this research has allowed me to
discover how fascinating, and how much more meaningful, it can be to travel for
research purposes. I got to discover European cities from a totally different perspective.
I have met many wonderful people who were most enthusiastic to share their

knowledge and passion for their work as a librarian, or archivist. Most were surprised and excited by the fact that I was actually bringing them a bit of their own history they had never heard of. In many cases, these people went out of their way to dig for information on my behalf. It gave me access to places and people I had never thought it would be possible for me to ever enter or meet. Can you imagine, me, an ordinary citizen, visiting the reserves of the National Natural History Museum in Paris, a museum that exists since the 17th century, or meeting the curators of the Berlin Ethnology Museum, of the Musee du Quai Branly, of the Musée de l’Homme? It’s been such a privilege to work on this research. I’m not sure yet if I’ll feel like traveling for leisure again 😉

4) Your website lists dates where you give public speakings about your work. Is that something you enjoy doing? Were there any memorable speaking engagements that you took part in?

Absolutely! I do enjoy talking to groups about Abraham’s story, explaining how I got
involved in the research, how and where I conducted the research, etc. It allows me to
go deeper into the story, to show lots of photos, to give a behind the scenes look at the
filming of the documentary, and to answer any question they may have.
One thing that makes me very proud is that often, after the presentation, people come,
not to talk about Abraham’s story, but to tell me how inspired they were by my own
story. For some, it was my drastic career change that struck them. For others, it was my
curiosity to want to know more, my perseverance or determination. It is always very
gratifying to know that I’ve made a small difference in someone’s life, that I may have lit
a flame that will get that person to take a step further than he/she would have normally
done.
My most memorable speaking engagement has to be the one I did on April 15, 2015, at the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris. How could I not feel privileged to be in such a highly prestigious building, facing the Eiffel Tower, and talking in front of a crowd of about 70 people many of them being the museum curators, the librarians, the archivists, the diplomats who had helped me either for my research or for paving the way for the eventual repatriation of the remains.

5) The airing of the documentary Trapped in a Human Zoo must have brought some attention to your book. How do you feel about the documentary?

Word about Abraham’s story and the book had been slowly spreading in Arctic Canada
since fall 2014. But, indeed, the airing of the documentary on The Nature of Things (click for link), the interview Johannes Lampe and I gave to Anna Maria Tremonti on CBCs The Current (click for link) , and the article in Canadas History (February-March 2016 issue) (click for link) were the three main events that allowed English-speaking Canada to finally discover Abraham’s story and the book. They not only gave exposure, they also brought so much credibility to my research. The book being the first one I have ever authored, and the fact that it is self-published, it’s been very difficult to get the attention of the media in Southern Canada. So that credibility is priceless!
As for the documentary, I am very proud of the end result. It was a most difficult
challenge to figure out how to intertwine three distinct stories into one (Abraham’s,
Johannes Lampe’s and mine) and ensure people would clearly understand all three of
them. The film director, the script writer and the script editor did an awesome job. The
way the 19th century photos came to life, as well as the look and feel of the re-
enactment scenes are above what I thought would be feasible.

6) Your biographies list the fact that you gave up your career in information technology in order to better explore and explain the Arctic. Are there any books and or writers that you admire that talk about the Arctic that you would recommend?

You shouldn’t be surprised if I tell you that the books that inspire me most are non-

fiction historical books. The first one that comes to mind, which I read back in 2010 as I as I was starting my research on Abraham’s story, is Give Me my Father’s Body: The Life of Minik The New York Eskimo by Kenn Harper. After Trapped in a Human Zoo aired, I received several emails from people asking if I had read it. This story shares points in common with Abraham’s story as Minik, a young Inuk from Greenland, was taken to New York in the early 1900 with his father and a few other Greenlanders. After all adults died shortly after their arrival, Minik was adopted by an employee of the Natural History Museum. A few years later, he came face to face with his father’s skeleton in the museum’s gallery. It is through Kenn Harper’s efforts that the remains of the Inuit wererepatriated from New York to Greenland in the 1990s

.I’m currently trying to read more books where Inuit are telling their own stories such as: Sanaaq by Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk, The World of Tivi Etok: the Life and Art of an Inuit Elder, Kuujjuaq: Memories and Musings by Dorothy Mesher, and From the Tundra to theTrenches by Eddie Weetaltuk (which I read in French but looks like the English version will be coming out in November 2016).

7) You seem to have an active presence on several social-media platforms (Facebook,Twitter, Pinterest). How do you feel about using these applications in relation to your work? Do they help or hinder your work?

Of the three platforms you mention I must admit that Facebook is the one I am most
present on. After the airing of the documentary, that is how 90% of the people contacted
me (Inuit and non-Inuit). The most important benefits I get from it are in building and
maintaining my relationships with members of the Inuit community. That is definitely
their platform of choice. Whenever I share a news item, Facebook provides the most
reactions. So, it gives me the impression that it is worth investing time in it even though
it may not translate into book sales. At least, I can see that the word about Abraham’s
story is indeed spreading. That’s the important thing. The story will be in the news again
when the Nunatsiavut government announces that they are officially asking for the
remains to be repatriated, and when the bones do come home.
Pinterest I discovered recently and I think it is an awesome tool to visually document the
many different aspects of Abraham’s story. I work on it for my own pleasure.

8) Are you working on anything new right now? If yes, are there details you care to share?

I am still very much involved in making Abraham’s story better known (through talks,
film screenings, etc.), and I cannot yet see the day when I will move on to something
totally different. At least, this is unlikely before the human remains are back in Labrador.
That said, within the bigger Abraham project, there are always new endeavours coming
up. The main one is a musical theatre project. We are still in the early stages, but it is
most exciting to know that the story will be told through music, including Moravian songs
and chorals which were an important part of Abraham’s life (he played several
instruments including the violin). That’s an aspect which could not be covered by the
documentary. I am also collaborating with the development of an exhibit planned for
summer 2017 that will include Abraham’s story. Ideas have started brewing about
making a feature film. There is definitely sufficient material to make a 90-minute film!
Wouldn’t you agree? Last but not least, even though the book In the Footsteps of
Abraham Ulrikab has been published, the research continues. In 2015, I finally had the
opportunity to look through Johan Adrian Jacobsen’s archives in Hamburg and to go to
Prague where I did uncover lots of new material about the Inuit’s stay in that city. So,
there could be a second edition of the book to share these new findings, but it most
likely won’t happen before the remains have returned, so that we can include that final
chapter.
*****

 

Enlightening Readers about Addiction |Review of “Wasted: An Alcoholic Therapists’s Fight for Recovery in a Flawed Treatment System” by Michael Pond & Maureen Palmer (2016) Greystone Bookshael Pond &

We all have had our issues with alcohol – be they big or small. We all know somebody who has had issues with substance abuse. Again, be they big or small. But the problem is how we look at those issues – or even openly talk about them. Michel Pond and Maureen Palmer have started many thoughts and discussions on the subject on addiction and how it is handled.  And their book Wasted: An Alcoholic Therapist’s Fight for Recovery in a Flawed Treatment System is one venue where they have documented their journey and pondered the difficult road taken.

Page 43 – I Don’t Want to Go to Rehab

I’ve been through enough rehab to know what comes next. Intolerable vomiting, shakes, fevers, chills, blinding headaches. Every noise magnified ten thousand times. Even the softest touch is too much. And that’s if I get off easy.

My first stint in treatment was Pine-Winds Recovery and Treatment Centre in the Okanagan in November 2005. Taylor and a couple of guys from AA ambushed me. I stayed at Pine-Winds just long enough to detox and then I left. April 2006, a few months later, back to Pine-Winds. Fast forward a few more months and I’m in the back of our Honda Odyssey family van gagging and heaving, yet again in the throes of detox. In the front, Rhonda drove as our family doctor glanced over the seat, his face furrowed with worry. We sped to Kelowna, about an hour’s drive away, where Rhonda and my doctor intended to admit me to the psych ward. He wanted to save me, a fellow health care professional, the embarrassment of being hospitalized for alcoholism in my own hometown. All I could think about in the back of that van was my practice. What would become of my practice?

The story of Michael Pond appeared on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s documentary program The Nature of Things. But it is in the book where we see Pond’s true story comes through. He had been a psychotherapist dealing with other people struggles when he lost control of his drinking. We read as Pond describes in simple terms how he lost his practice, his home and eventually the support of his friends and family. We read his struggles through assorted therapies and group homes to help him yet he continually fails, spiraling him deeper into shame.

Pages 222-223  The Last Dance

I wake up Sunday with the familiar ache of loneliness. It’s a classic sunny summer beach day in White Rock. Tide’s out. The smell of the sea wafts up on a light breeze and settles around my little house. I can smell the barnacles and seaweed . Me alone with my thoughts can be a dangerous thing, so I head to the 9 a.m. AA meeting on the beach. I quietly take my seat on a log, settling in amidst some twenty people, mostly men, lounging in lawn chairs. The chair asks me to speak, and reluctantly, I share.

“I’m three months sober now,” I say with a hint of pride.”But with the sobriety, comes the regret, the realization of how much my drinking has hurt those I love.” I feel the tears prick and I try my damndest to put a stop to them, but they trickle down my cheeks. Ashamed, I quickly sit down. Next up, a new guy who has taken over the cooking duties at We Surrender. He reflects on how grateful he now feels, then sits.

Then the man who founded We Surrender pulls his considerable heft off his chair. Normally, he spends the meeting reclined, arms crossed across his chest, observing others with an air of superiority. But now he looks directly at me and erupts.

“You’re so full of fucking self-pity. Why can’t you be like him? He points to We Surrender’s new cook. “He was homeless. He lost everything but he got out of his head and started to do service. That’s what’s wrong with you. You need to be doing service. You need to be giving back to this program that’s saving your life. I’m so sick of guys like you. You’re never going to get sober if you don’t get it. You’re pathetic” He glares at me and sits down.

After his tirade, despite the warmth of the morning sun, I begin to shiver. Maybe he’s right. I should do more service. Tears well again. I sit, stunned, wondering why he feels he has the right to speak to me like that and how he thinks that kind of talk will be helpful. Deep inside, I know this kind of shaming is not part of the AA program. After the meeting, others talk to me. “It’s okay Mike, the main thing is you’re sober. He means well.”

Does he really?

 

There is something noble in the fact Pond has opened up and talked about his experiences and his feelings with his addiction and his long search of a cure. We finally see his success and are introduced to Maureen Palmer, who becomes a guiding force in his life. We all think that life has improved for Pond has we read how they are about to start filming for the Nature of Things documentary. Yet a motorcycle accident send Pond to the emergency room. The trip fills him memories of his days when he was consumed with his addition to alcohol. We read how he tries to fight the urge to drink and relapses once again.

Page 317 The Party

Eyes open. Birds; to loud. My head pounds and my mouth is dry. I lightly touch the puffy line of stitches on my upper lip. With sickening clarity, last night slams in.

Damn it. I drank. I drank a lot. Images flicker through my brain. Shoving aside all the casserole dishes and cookie trays, grasping back deep in the cupboard to retrieve the bottle of Captain Morgan rum. Guzzling it straight from the bottle. Pouring glass after glass of wine. Jamming the cork back in the empty bottle.

What’s wrong with me? What did I do last night? What did I say to Maureen? We had guests. What did they think? What’s going to happen to the film now? After five-and-a-half years of sobriety, I drank. I blew it. The whole world will know. Mike Pond is a hopeless alcoholic. We told you it was just a matter of time. He was getting too cocky. How will I face the shame and humiliation?

I fumble my way out of bed and head to the kitchen where Maureen pecks with purpose on her MacBook. She’s surrounded by research for our film.

She looks straight into my eyes. “We’re going across the line.” A doctor in Bellingham administers  Vivitrol injections, a drug believed to keep cravings at bay for up to thirty days. It’s not available yet in Canada. His receptionist says they can have it ready for you in a few days.

“That’s really expensive. Over a thousand dollars.”

“Twelve hundred American. Plus an administration fee of four hundred . . . And, Mike – we need to bring the camera crew.”

The complexities of this book (and the documentary) are far to many to fairly mention here but the story brought forth is a compelling one. It took skill, time and courage to bring forth both and the effort has enlightened many. No doubt this book will be one of the memorable I will remember of the 2016 season. Wasted: An Alcoholic Therapist’s Fight for Recovery in a Flawed Treatment System by Michael Pond and Maureen Palmer is canon for every reader interested in improving the human condition.

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Link to Michael Pond’s website

Link to “Addiction. The Next Step” website

Link to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s website for The Nature of Things and the episode Wasted

Link to Greystone Books page for Wasted: An Alcoholic Therapist’s Fight for Recovery in a Flawed Treatment System.

 

 

 

Answering The Calls We All Feel | Review of “When Calls the Heart” by Janette Oke (1983) Bethany House

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has begun to announce it’s summer broadcast schedule for 2015. Among one of it’s shows it is airing is an adaptation of Janette Oke’s When Calls The Heart and the book deserves a read before it is aired.

Page 17

I had never even considered “moving on” before. I was very much a “home person.” I wasn’t even especially take with the idea of marriage. Oh, I supposed that somewhere, someday, there would be someone, but I certainly had no intention of going out looking for him, nor had I been very impressed with any of the young men who had come looking for me. On more than one occasion I had excused myself and happily turned the over to Julie. She also seemed pleased with the arrangement; but the feelings of the young men involved, I must shamefully confess, concerned me very little.

And now I was to “move on”?

This was an endearing read. We are given the story of Elizabeth, young, sophisticated and educated, is plucked from her Toronto home in the turn of 20th century and sent out to teach children as the Canadian frontier is beginning to open up to settlers. We follow her journey from her comfortable urban home, along a long train ride westward and witness her clumsy start at her teaching career in the wilds of the west.

Page 74

I was lingering by a window of the school building, taking one last fruitless peek into the dark interior, when a blood curdling, spine-chilling howl rent the stillness of the evening hour. It seemed to tear through my veins, leaving me terrified and shaking. The scream had hardly died away when another followed, to be joined by another.

I cam to life then. A wolf pack! And right in my very yard! They had smelled new blood and were moving in for the kill.

I sprang forward and ran for the door of my cabin, praying that somehow God would hold them back until I was able to gain entrance. My feet tangled in the new -mown grass and I fell to my hands and knees. With a cry I scurried madly on not even bothering to regain my feet. The sharp stubble of the grass and weeds bit into the palms of my hands, but I crawled on Another howl pierced the night.

“Oh, dear God!” I cried, and tears ran down my cheeks.

Howls seemed to be all around me now. Starting as a solo, they would end up in a whole chorus. What were they saying to one another? I was certain that they were discussing my coming end.

Somehow I reached the door and scrambled inside. I struggled to my feet and stood with my back braced against the flimsy wooden barrier. I expected an attack to come at any moment. I heard no sound of rushing padded feet, only sporadic howling. But Julie had  said that western wolves were like that – catlike and noiseless, silently stealing up on their victims.

My eyes lifted to the windows. The windows! Would they challenge the glass?

Oke has a simple style here that still is descriptive. The story is easy to follow and includes well-researched facts that enlightened the reader about the time period. While it is not an intellectual read it, is a brilliant book nonetheless.

Page 102

I was up with the birds on Monday morning. I was far too excited to sleep. I had always enjoyed teaching, but never before had it affected me in quite this way; the eagerness of the people in the area had rubbed off on me.

The bell was to be rung at nine o’clock. I felt that I had already lived two full days that morning before nine o’clock arrived.

Dressing carefully, I did my hair in the most becoming way that I knew. it really was too fussy for the classroom, but I couldn’t reason myself out of it. I tried to eat my breakfast but didn’t feel at all hungry, so I finally gave up and cleaned up my kitchen area.

I left early for the classroom and dusted and polished, rearranged and prepared, and still the hands on the clock had hardly moved.

The first students arrived at twenty to nine. Cindy and Sally Blake were accompanied by their mother and father. Mr. Blake was a quiet man – but every family can use one quiet member, I decided. Mrs. Blake was chattering before she even climbed down from the wagon, and didn’t actually cease until the schoolroom door closed upon her departing figure.

The Clarks came together – seven of them. It took me a few moments to sort them all out, and the harder I tried the more confused I became. It helped helped when I learned that there were two families involved, cousins – three from one family and four from the other.

When Calls The Heart by Janette Oke is an enlightening and endearing read. It has a simple plot yet is filled with well-researched facts. A must-read before the TV series airs.

*****

Link to Baker Publishing Group/Bethany House Publishers website for When Calls The Heart