Wildwood

An old house. A single mother.
An epic battle with the wilderness.

NOW AVAILABLE

Now available from bookstores, Amazon and Chapters, and as an e-book. Click here to Order Wildwood Now.

 

What the Book is About:

Broke and desperate, single mother Molly Bannister of Phoenix, Arizona, accepts the stern condition laid down in her great-aunt’s will: to spend one year in an abandoned farmhouse deep in the remote backwoods of northern Alberta. If she does, she can sell the farm and fund her four-year-old daughter Bridget’s badly needed medical treatments.

With grim determination, Molly teaches herself the basic pioneer skills, chopping firewood and washing her clothes with melted snow. But her greatest perils come from the brutal wilderness itself, from blizzards to grizzly bears. The journal written by her courageous great-aunt, the original homesteader, inspires her to struggle on.

But there’s another obstacle to her success: an idealistic young farmer, Colin McKay, wants to thwart Molly’s strategy to sell her great-aunt’s farm to an oil company. Will Molly be cheated out of her inheritance after all? Will she and Bridget survive the savage winter, and what comes next? Not only their financial future, but their very lives are at stake.

* * * * *

 

MY BOOK LAUNCH

March 14, 2018

Held at the historical Pynelogs Art Gallery in Invermere, B.C., my launch drew 80 people to hear me talk about Wildwood, eat homemade pie, and dress in pioneer garb. Here my daughter Katie Niddrie (who was seven months pregnant) and I pose in our best homesteader outfits.

My book launch featured a Blue Ribbon Pie Contest. There were 80 guests and 20 pies, and after the judge Tony Berryman awarded the Blue Ribbon to Brenda Marsman for her Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, we all tucked in and ate our fill of delicious pies!

The winner received this embroidered hoop, handmade by my daughter Katie Niddrie. She makes and sells custom hoops for kids, and you can see more examples on her Etsy shop by clicking here: Miss Tweedle Crafts

 

Below are some of the other images that inspired my novel, Wildwood.

 

One of the characters in Wildwood is a four-year-old girl, so it seems appropriate that the book should be introduced by my two adorable granddaughters, Nora and Juliet. Their mother Katie is in the above photo with me at the launch of Wildwood.

 

This is an old colour photograph of a foursquare farmhouse in Oyen, Alberta, an original catalogue house from the T. Eaton Company, used as the model for my farmhouse in Wildwood.

 

This authentic period foursquare home is now a historic site in Peace River, Alberta. I referenced this home in my novel. It was built in 1916 for the Commanding Officer of the Royal North West Mounted Police.

The former farmhouse in Oyen, Alberta has some wonderful period features, like these stained glass kitchen cabinets.

 

My heroine uses a Belleek tea set bearing the classic shamrock motif that her great-aunt brought with her from Ireland.

 

Molly finds a copy of the original 1913 Five Roses Cook Book, and follows the recipes when she learns to bake in a wood oven, just like her great-aunt before her.

 

When Molly inherits the old farmhouse, she finds a journal written by the original homesteader, her great-aunt Mary Margaret. This image reminds me of the young bride writing in her diary.

 

One pipe leading to the well under the house, and one pump over the kitchen sink that produces ice-cold water -- that's what my heroine has in the way of plumbing.

 

In northern Alberta, everything was built of logs. We didn't have a log toilet at my childhood farm in Saskatchewan, but our outdoor biffy was made from lumber. Our farm didn't have indoor plumbing installed until I was fourteen years old!

 

The local indigenous population knew that mukluks kept one's feet warm in winter. I suspect my Métis great-grandmother wore mukluks like this beautifully-decorated pair. 

 

This old cookstove still sits in the house where I grew up, on a grain farm outside North Battleford, Saskatchewan. My brother took over the farm and lives in a new house in the same yard. In Wildwood, my heroine Molly has to cook on a stove just like this one.

 

This is an example of the foursquare house that Molly inherits, ordered originally from the T. Eaton Company and assembled on the spot by a team of carpenters in 1924.

 

The combination of golden fields, dark boreal forest, and blue skies makes for an incredible landscape in northern Alberta. I took this photo not far from Grande Prairie.

 

Because the farm has no plumbing, Molly must wash her clothes in a tin tub and hang them on the clothesline, just as in pioneer days. Happily she doesn't need to wear petticoats! This lovely painting is by Heide Presse.

 

The old house that Molly inherits has no electricity, so she has to rely on oil lamps for lighting those dark winter nights.

 

There is a sparkling creek running past the farmhouse in Wildwood, looking much like the one in this photograph that I took up in the Peace River area.

 

Finally, no old house would be complete without the iconic striped Hudson Bay trading blanket. 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

 

  • To order Elinor's new novel, click: Order Wildwood Now.

  •  To book Elinor for a speaking engagement,  click: Contact.

  • To see a list of Book Club Discussion Questions, click Events.        

  • For an up-to-date list of book appearances, click: Events.

  • To read an excerpt of her wartime novel, click: Bird's Eye View.

  • To order an ebook version of Bird's Eye View, click: Bird's Eye View Ebook. You can also buy an ebook from iBooks, Kobo or Kindle. The novel is also available as an Audiobook from Audible or iTunes.

  • To order a copy of Elinor's non-fiction book of interviews with veterans: My Favourite Veterans.

 

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