Tragedy and turmoil on the prairie

On the Wings of the Morning

Stirring tales of the opening of the Canadian West are more often found in the detail of anonymous lives lived than in the events catalogued in any schoolbook history.

Two such tales will unfold at a reading and book-signing at the Courtenay Library on Monday, March 30 at 7 p.m. by two Canadian authors, both prairie born and now residents of British Columbia.

Vangie Bergum carried a secret from her youth that fear and shame forbid her to explore. She could break the silence only when she found the courage to pursue the shadows until the story of the murder of her grandmother and aunts emerged along with the suicide of her grandfather, the murderer.

But Downstream is more than the story of a tragedy and of lives cut short. It is also a reflection on the significance of missing women everywhere, the loss to all who loved them and the vistas they might have opened had they lived.

Comox resident, Tony Reynolds, learned that a great-grandfather who broke the isolated prairie in 1871, left behind 30,000 words in letters written home to Scotland over the course of 34 years. Reynolds mined this treasure-trove of authentic detail to weave an historical novel.

In On the Wings of the Morning, two brothers, strongly divergent in personality, with deep roots in Scotland, are forced to an isolated frontier and a troubled partnership. The brothers survive armed conflict, brutal weather, prairie fire, and intense isolation to open an unbroken land. One pursues unconventional love. The other defies authority and bigotry to protect his friends. A plague threatens the whole venture. It is a story of courage, shame, persistence, and loyalty, and its end is another beginning.

Meet the authors, hear readings and get copies of their books signed at the event.

 

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