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The untold story of scandal and political intrigue in early Toronto. Anna Jameson arrives in the tiny settlement of Toronto in November, 1836. She has come at the request of her estranged husband, but she intends to gather material for a new book, which will eventually be published in England years later. At first, Anna finds herself in an alien world. She has little in common with Toronto women whose interests centre on gossip and their families, but as she begins to move into adventures like sleigh-riding and helping to fight a major fire, she enters a new life. And she also meets man-about-town Sam Jarvis. But Jarvis has a loving wife, a pile of debts and a violent past. The story is told from both their points of view. She travels alone into the wilderness, becomes the first white woman to descend the Sault rapids in a canoe and discovers the joy of freedom. On Manitoulin Island, she and Sam Jarvis meet again. During a long canoe trip down Lake Huron, they wrestle with the conflicts in their relationship and arrive at a settlement.

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Average rating
4 / 5
English teacher
December 28th, 2013
For a first-time novel, I am impressed. Excellent historical research and well blended with fictional creation of characters and events. I was, indeed, caught up in the story, and in particular, the burgeoning romance, but also enjoyed the narrative of life in Upper Canada in its infancy. The period elements -- dress, architecture, travel, etc. -- were very well done, although there is a bit of an over-the-top preoccupation with food serving in the first 1/4 of the narrative. Still, it set the mood well, and I really enjoyed going back in time with every page. Very nice job!
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