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Synopsis

Chief factor: In the Hudson’s Bay Company fur-trade monopoly, the title of chief factor was the highest rank given to commissioned officers, who were responsible for a major trading post and its surrounding district.

Colonial Victoria in 1858 is an unruly mix of rowdy gold seekers and hustling immigrants caught in the upheaval of the fur trade giving way to the gold rush. Chief Factor John Work, an elite of the Hudson’s Bay Company fur trade and husband to a country-born wife, forbids his daughters to go into the formerly quiet Fort Victoria, to protect them from its burgeoning transient population. Margaret, the eldest daughter, chafes at her father’s restrictions and worries that, at 23, she is fated to be a spinster. Born of a British father and Métis mother, Margaret and her sisters belong to the upper class of the fur-trade community, though they become targets of snobbery and racism from the new settlers. But dashing naval officers and Royal Engineers still host parties and balls, and Margaret and her sisters attend, dressed in the fashionable gowns they order from England. As happens the world over, these cultural tensions lead to love and romance.

An elegant recreation of real events and people, The Chief Factor’s Daughter takes readers inside a now-vanished society, much like Pride and Prejudice. Margaret Work, with her aspirations, hopes and dreams, is a recognizable and thoroughly appealing heroine.

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