Shortly after I arrived in Toronto in the late winter of 1965, I was sent to northern Manitoba by the mining company that had just hired me. The train journey to Wabowden from Winnipeg begins by swinging west through Portage la Prairie. Having grown up in the gentle confines of the Thames Valley in rural Berkshire, I was awestruck by the vista of the prairie from my train window. It is in image that is still vivid in my memory fifty-six years later.
After marrying Cheryl, and listening to stories from her and her brothers about growing up farming near the Saskatchewan border, I came to wonder how on earth her ancestors were able to wrest a life from the prairie soil. What struggles did they have? How did their triumphs and tragedies make them feel?
Of course, it wasn’t an ‘empty’ landscape when they arrived. The lives of the indigenous people of the Canadian prairies, the Ojibwa, Cree and later refugees from the United States ‘Sioux Uprising’, the Dakota, were gradually engulfed by the new European settlers.
My first novel, ‘Land Title: A Novel of the Prairies.’ Is a fictional account of what life may have been like from both perspectives.
Pictured: Cheryl’s great grandparents original log cabin on their homestead near Clearwater, as it is today. And the banks of Sturgeon Creek, in present day Winnipeg, where 600 Dakota refugees camped, waiting to be assigned reserves in western Manitoba.
Your ability to write equals that of any author whose work I have read, including Leacock, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Joyce, Lawrence, Dickens, Le Carre´, Dostoyevsky, Wilde, Fleming, Faulkner, King, Forsyth, and others.
Reading your work is like being present to observe and listen to the characters.
What a magnificent talent!
A wonderful glimpse into a forgotten time. Very engaging characters! Very contemporary.
Will leave you pondering our history!
Strong characters within a beautifully told tale.
This is a beautiful novel starting in the late 1800's, through to the 1920's, in the Canadian Prairies. The characters have depth and the storyline weaves in and around their lives. I highly recommend this can't-put-downable book!!
A new respect for my home and the people who lived here.
Land Title is a piece of historical fiction that incorporates true historical facts ( down to the train schedules, with engaging storylines and characters that are relatable). I found myself emotionally invested in their lives, and experiencing their successes and challenges right alongside them.
Addictive storyline and characters.
A wonderful book - I couldn't put it down. Thoroughly enjoyed the story and the characters. I'm very disappointed I finished it so quickly and cannot wait for the next installment. Until then, I'm reading it again.