Chelsy’s Picks: #GiftAtlantic Mystery and History, Fiction and Fact
For critical thinkers this holiday season, share the gift of mystery, history, fiction and fact. Stories ranging from nursing sisters’ lives during the First World War, friends lost in the woods, adventures in the great outdoors and political parties, this collection features the bold, the imaginative and the very real.
Alone on the Trail
Emily Hepditch takes us through the Newfoundland wilderness and builds a mystery in this imaginative adventure and drama. Join four best friends Sadie, Julie, Morgan and Jonah on their graduation celebration gone awry, starting with a hike in the western Newfoundland backcountry.
In the woods, secrets become as clear as tree branches, an abandoned shack poses threatening questions and four friends rush for safety. Alone on the Trail is a perfect gift for readers that love page turners, friendship and the mysteries of nature.
The History of Rain
Stephens Gerard Malone
Bulbs, tubers and soil welcome Rain’s tender hands in times of war. Stephens Gerard Malone takes us back to 1915 with Rain, a veteran of the First World War, now residing in a French army hospital. He turns to the earth at the words of a groundskeeper, “I say give the earth your rage, young man, and she’ll give you flowers.”
The History of Rain is a historical-fiction novel about Rain’s journey in the postwar years, travelling the world to create exquisite gardens for celebrities while also finding himself in deep longing for love. This is a great gift for readers curious about the fantasies and realities of love, and the past.
Asleep in the Deep
Goose Lane Editions
On June 27, 1918, against international law, a German U-boat sank the Llandovery Castle, a Canadian hospital ship returning to England, killing 254 crew members. Anna Stamers, a 30-year-old from Saint John, was one of 14 nursing sisters on the boat.
In this well-researched work, Diane Kelly explores life from Anne Stamers’ eyes, her childhood and nursing education to her decision to enlist and military nursing. Asleep in the Deep is a great choice for readers interested in young women’s experiences of the First World War and the role nursing sisters played.
In the Shadow of the Long Range Mountains
Fishing, hunting and trapping were central to Adrian Payne and his family growing up in the shadow of the Long Range Mountains. Working as an outfitter, Adrian Payne shares stories of adventure and the great outdoors in this riveting memoir.
“But the pilot didn’t pull back on the throttle – he kept it at full speed. I realized then that he intended to take off this way. I could see death staring me wright in the face, and I yelled, ‘We’re doomed!’” Payne writes.
This is the perfect gift for readers looking for stories of real-life adventure.
Beer lovers and history buffs alike will rejoice in UnFiltered Beers’ quest to understand what’s in a lager. Steven Laffoley sets out to understand the history of beer in Nova Scotia, and what makes beer so special.
This book pairs well with a glass of IPA and an inquisitive spirit. Nova Scotia’s beer-filled past, as Laffoley finds out, is a winding road of ups and downs, good and evil, secrets and … ale-chewing goats.
The Sound of Fire
Renée Belliveau revisits the tragic events of the 1941 Mount Allison University residence fire in The Sound of Fire. Belliveau explores trauma, love and humanity in tragedy, weaving the tale through the eyes of students who died in the fire, faculty and staff, journalists and social media.
“This time, I was sparked to life. I awoke from the elements, timid and trembling.” This is how Belliveau introduces this breath-taking, fast-paced historical fiction. Readers on your gift list can revisit the small liberal arts university in rural New Brunswick, reflect on times of war and the fire that changed lives forever with this compelling novel.
edited by Lisa Moore and Stephen Crocker
Memorial University Press
In Newfoundland and Labrador, the $13 billion Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project has been generating crisis for locals. Muskrat Falls is a great gift for readers interested in the environmental, social and political components of the Muskrat Falls hydro project.
Promises of clean hydro power lead to risks of methylmercury poisoning and catastrophic flooding of residents living near the dam in Labrador. This volume analyzes problems caused by the dam and the role of journalism, social media, science and politics, as well as Indigenous voices and activism against the harms of the project. Readers familiar with the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project or interested in similar issues can dive into this topic with scholarly essays, interviews, original artwork, photographs and a short story.
A Match to a Blasty Bough
Historically it was the merchants who wielded power over the bounty of Newfoundland and Labrador’s fisheries. In 1971, that all changed when workers organized to form the Fishermen’s Union to ensure workers gained the rightful share of wealth. The union has survived market crashes, industry restructuring, corporate campaigns and devastating fish stock collapses.
Earle McCurdy uses dozens of interviews and his own experience in with FFAW-Unifor to tell this compelling story of wealth redistribution and challenges to traditional power structures. This is a great gift for readers connected with the fisheries or interested in the politics of workers’ rights.
Goose Lane Editions
Stephen Kimber documents Alexa’s journey and impact as the first female leader of a mainstream Canadian political party. Kimber explores attitudes toward women in politics, from her early career as the only female MLA in the Nova Scotia legislature, to her leadership of the federal NDP, to her role as senior stateswoman in Jack Layton’s shadow cabinet.
This is a great gift for readers interested in Canadian politics, regardless of party affiliation.
We Rise Again
Len Wagg and Angela Mombourquette
Award-winning photographer and author Len Wagg, with co-author Angela Mombourquette, follow up Stay the Blazes Home with how Nova Scotians have been coping through the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a great gift for fans of the first edition, and readers looking to see the human experience of the pandemic in Nova Scotia.
We Rise Again explores how Nova Scotians, business owners, support workers, healthcare workers and people on the front lines have adapted during the pandemic. Wagg and Mombourquette explore the roles of everyday people in rolling out wide-scale testing and vaccination. These are stories of hope to inspire all through this incredibly difficult time.