Felicity Sidnell Reid & Jiřina Marton
Author: Felicity Sidnell Reid
Illustrator: Jiřina Marton
Title: Alone: A Winter in the Woods
ISBN: 978-1-927725-18-4 = 9781927725184 – Soft cover
Trade Paperback: 296 pages – 6 X 9
Suggested Retail (Paperback): $24.95
Genre: Fiction, Novel, Canadian, YA
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This spell-binding tale about pioneer life and survival follows the adventures of John Turner (13) left alone in the bush with the family’s cattle and his dog. He faces devastating isolation, loneliness and other dangers. Adopted Joséphine journals about the family and her own adventures while waiting to rejoin John.
Alone: a Winter in the Woods is written in the spirit and quality of Fredrick Philip Grove’s, Governor General Award winning novel, “Settlers of the Marsh”. Felicity Sidnell Reid brings the young reader a spell-binding pioneer life story of survival. Girls and boys of any age will be captivated by vivid descriptions of the northern landscape and the historically accurate story of endurance.
A story for all ages, Alone: a Winter in the Woods quickly engages the reader in thirteen year-old John Turner’s adventures. Forced to grow up quickly, while left alone on the family’s land grant in a virtually unsettled township, in the winter of 1797, John has to overcome devastating isolation and loneliness. With only a couple of oxen, a pregnant cow, a handful of chickens and his dog to keep him company, everyday tasks become ten times more difficult than they were while Pa was still with him, building their tiny cabin. Meanwhile John’s mother has adopted the orphaned Joséphine, who keeps a journal recording the life of the Turners and her own experiences, while the family waits for Pa to return to Adolphustown to escort his wife and young children up the lake to the new settlement once spring allows water traffic to start up again. This tale explores the differences between family life and expectations in the eighteenth century and the present, as John and Joséphine reflect on what home, family, and friendship mean to them and struggle to find the courage, determination and faith needed to face the future.
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Felicity Sidnell Reid delivers a compelling, at times harrowing, adventure story that will be enjoyed by readers of any age. There is so much information here that the book belongs in every Ontario classroom studying the lives of the Loyalist settlers. The book is filled with such vivid descriptions of the forest of Upper Canada, the rivers and marshes, the glimpses of Lake Ontario in the distance, and the changing seasons that the reader easily imagines sharing these surroundings. The author’s use of actual place names adds authenticity to this historically accurate story. Highly Recommended.
Reviewed by Peggy Dymond Leavey,
author of Laura Secord, Mary Pickford,
and nine novels for young readers.