Acquired Book By: I have been hosting for Poetic Book Tours for a few years now, where I am finding myself encouraged to seek out collections of poetry or incredible fiction being published through Small Trade publishers and presses. I have an Indie spirit and mentality as a writer and I appreciate finding authors who are writing creative works through Indie resources as I find Indies have a special spirit about them. It is a joy to work with Poetic Book Tours for their resilience in seeking out voices in Literature which others might overlook and thereby, increasing my own awareness of these beautiful lyrical voices in the craft.
When I realised this was the first ‘book’ in a series, I requested to receive the first book in order to understand the continuity and flow between the lead characters within the second installment. It is a personal preference of mine to read series ‘in order’ and I was blessed I could start this one at the beginning! I received a complimentary copy of “On the Rocks” direct from the publicist of Sue Hallgarth in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Why I wanted to read the Willa Cather & Edith Lewis Mysteries:
I am unsure when I first stumbled across ‘living persons’ being amateur sleuths in Mysteries & stories of Suspense – however, ever since I was first smitten by the idea, I have taken to these kinds of stories like a duck to water! I only vaguely ‘knew of’ Willa Cather – she’s the kind of woman you might hear about in literary circles as her own legacy of stories has quite the following. However, in regards to her personal life or the adventures she had as an novelist – these are the missing gaps in my knowledge! If anything, I knew her ‘in name only’ rather than of having a biographical sketch of an idea about her person.
This is one reason I am drawn into Biographical Fiction stories – generally speaking, I lean on the branch of ‘Historical Fiction’ to chart my course through time whilst alighting in the footsteps of either novelists (such as the Brontés) or well-known figureheads (such as Eleanor Roosevelt) whilst feeling a bit attached to some of the dexterities of creative muses (such as the Jane Austen Mysteries). Throughout each story I pick up to read, I am drawn closer to the ‘person’ who lived the life either being re-transmitted through a portion of their own living hours or re-identified in a different lifestyle altogether! It makes for a fascinating jaunt through time, history and known fact!
I hadn’t fused to mind ‘where’ the story was set – coming into fuller knowledge as I sat down to read the novel, I realised it was hugged close to the Canadian Maritimes – specifically the region of the Bay of Fundy and the Fundy Isles. This is an especially lovely area where artists, artisans, writers and other creatives have found a renewing peace to create in this part of the world where life is laid back & the natural scenery etches out its own inspiration to the creator. The Bay of Fundy in recent years is a bit better known due to a hard-won battle to secure the sanctity of the waters in the North Atlantic by the conjoined efforts of the Americans, Canadians & Passamaquoddy Indians.
Realising this connection, when it came time to ‘step forward’ into Ms Hallgarth’s vision for the series, I was more than ready to lay pause on her prose and feel absorbed into this area of the Northern Hemisphere where the lights like to dance, ice meets the sea and where there is an enchantment of wonderment lit over the land. It was then, I realised I was supposed to read this series!
The year is 1929 and Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Willa Cather and her partner Edith Lewis are summering on Grand Manan, an island in the Bay of Fundy. In their cottage’s sparsely-furnished attic room, Cather is at work writing Shadows on the Rock, her tenth novel. Edith is painting watercolors from the cliffs two hundred feet above the rising tides of Whale Cove.
Out of the corner of her eye, Edith sees a body plunge from the edge of a cliff to the rocks below…. Solving the mystery, first-time novelist Sue Hallgarth’s intimate view of village politics and the goings-on of two women’s communities long lost to history is also a suspenseful and surprising crime novel. Hallgarth draws the reader into a unique retreat and an inside glimpse of the lives of a great American novelist and her talented life partner.
Places to find the book:
Published by Arbor Farm Press
on 13th January, 2013
Format: Paperback Edition
Published By: Arbor Farm Press
Available Formats: Paperback & Ebook
The Willa Cather & Edith Lewis Mysteries:
Book One: On the Rocks
Book Two: Death Comes (Synopsis)
Converse via: #WillaCather + #CosyMysteries
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge