Today is the day I leave for Saskatchewan in search of Memére and Pepére's homestead near Val Marie, Saskatchewan. As I approach the end of my historical novel, Fields of Gold Beneath Prairie Skies, I've grown to know my grandparents much more intimately than ever before. I've learned who this jolly, little French-Canadian man from Trois Rivières really was, and what this mysterious lady from Belgium endured as they took up a homestead in the 1920s only to have their dreams dashed by the Depression era.
But there are more than just them I seek to know. It's also my great grandfather, Levi, and his wife, Emma, as well as the uncles and aunts who convened each Christmas, playing their fiddles and guitars, their Quebecois joie-de-vivre lighting up the festive season. I'm hoping to find their house in Ponteix as well as the graves of my baby aunts and uncle who died in infancy.
And finally, there is one more person I must mention -- A pioneer doctor named Dr. Onile Lupiens. A man who devoted his life to his practice, often treating patients for free, lighting fires in peoples' homes who were too sick to tend to it themselves during the Spanish Flu. A more devoted man never existed.
Who knows what I will find when I arrive. In the meantime, here is the blurb and cover of my novel, slated for release in September, 2017.
French-Canadian soldier, Napoleon, proposes to Lea during WWI, promising golden fields of wheat as
far as the eye can see. After the armistice, he sends money for her passage, and she journeys far from her
family and the conveniences of a modern country to join him on a homestead in Saskatchewan. There, she
works hard to build their dream of a prospering farm, clearing fields alongside her husband through
several pregnancies and even after suffering a terrible loss. When the stock market crashes in ’29, the
prairies are stricken by a long and abysmal drought. Thrown into poverty, she struggles to survive in a
world where work is scarce, death is abundant, and hope dwindles. Will she and her family survive the