Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!
You might have seen my joyous celebration in finding a lovely new Cosy Historical Mystery series which is also a wonderful introspective Biological spin on the living histories of Edith Lewis & Willa Cather! As soon as I first picked up On the Rocks, I was immediately connecting to this sense of place and the era in which the women lived. The scenery alone on Grand Manan became very real to me as did the ambiance of life on this island in the Eastern Maritimes of Canada feel as if time were not the key component of how life was lived but rather, the creative ways in which you spent your hours creating something to give back to the world.
It was a place where creatives of all backgrounds came together and rejoiced in the common goal of being creatively inspired in a place where time was irrelevant as community, friendship and the art of pursuing your creative instincts is what thrived here instead.
I am in the process of finalising my thoughts on behalf of the sequel Death Comes whilst filled with eager anticipation for the third installment – of which, I’ll happily await until the time is right to find it ready to be read. This is a curious series – as it has it’s own unique pace and it’s own unique voice within it. I love finding these hidden gems within the branches of Mystery & Suspense – wherein, their not necessarily defined by the ‘mystery’ per se as there is a lot more going on besides this vein of interest!
For me personally, I loved being able to draw keen insight into the lives of Edith Lewis & Willa Cather – the only true surprise being, I learnt I relate better to Edith, than Willa! Imagine? In this conversation, you’ll see me sharing a smile with the author about this one bit of trivia. If you haven’t yet discovered the writing style of Ms Hallgarth, I hope this interview will encourage you to seek out her collective works. She truly has a beautiful knack for re-envisioning the lives of these women and bringing them into the forefront of our focus.
To give you a cursory introduction as to why I love reading this series, here is what I shared on behalf of On the Rocks:
Such a refreshingly original setting and locale to focus on – the Fundy Isles hold their own allure and by setting this first installment at a place in the North Atlantic few might take notice of themselves, the joy of reading the novel is enhanced tenfold for the reader! I appreciated how Hallgarth introduced both setting and character – everything unfolded in a way which befits smaller communities where strangers are not common. She had a keen insight of how to balance the elements of the natural world with the distinctive lifestyles of her characters, too. It was a breathable balance where you felt a ‘part of’ the air and rooted in the spaces between the heartbeats.
The way Hallgarth paints the portrait of the island community rings true of what I know of this area myself – of where neighbours pitch in to help one another and where no one is ever left without assistance for something they’re working on. It’s the opposite of how many townes and cities function on the mainland stateside – where there are clear distinctions and disconnections amongst neighbours and community members; where each are practically living on their own ‘island’ (metaphorically speaking!).
The pace of the narrative is set in such a way to encourage you to sip tea and musefully ponder what your reading – to fully sense and feel this world, whilst allowing Willa and Edith to share the duties for how you navigate it. It’s one of those lovely immersive narratives where you can get lost in the descriptive narrative and feel as if you’ve lived half a moon in this setting. She has given all of us the chance to ‘know’ Willa Cather up close and personal – ahead of reading her stories – of peering into what was important to her and why she felt the legacy she left behind might slip past people who hadn’t realised the point behind her stories. Intuitive readers would notice and see her messages, but to the casual reader? I can see how her narratives might be glossed over for what was readily taken as the truth of what they revealled.
-how I described her poetic style on my review of On the Rocks
The Willa Cather & Edith Lewis Mysteries:
Why Jorie loves reading this series:
Being able to read these two novels back to back has been a special treat for me – they provided me with hours of enjoyment – tucking into the lives of Willa & Edith as if they were long lost best friends rather than strangers I’ve only just had the pleasure of greeting into my life. Ms Hallgarth channels their spirits to such a degree of capture, you truly feel their spirits reach you through her narratives. It is also a credit to her, whose research has bridged such a great gap between what we know of them and what ‘could have been’ – these mysteries feel plausible – as if their not just literary theory but they could have been (real) living adventures both of these women would have enjoyed encountering. There is an introspective intuitiveness threading throughout the series – each installment builds upon the last, giving you a lovely tome of insight and joy to fill your hours.
-quoted from my forthcoming review of Death Comes
Published By: Arbor Farm Press
Available Formats: Paperback & Ebook
Converse via: #EdithLewis + #WillaCather & #CosyMystery