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Travel Essays & Travelogues

A Time of Light and Shadow

To Asia, Africa, and the Long Way Home

by (author) Ella Harvey

RMB | Rocky Mountain Books
Initial publish date
Oct 2022
Essays & Travelogues, Women, Medical
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2022
    List Price

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An inspiring travel adventure memoir that explores a young woman’s quest to live life on the front lines, chasing adventure, and confronting the harsh realities of crisis work in Asia and Africa.


In 1975, a time of new freedom for women, Ella Harvey lived in Paris, worked as a nurse in war-torn Lebanon, and fell in love in Istanbul. Jostled between cultures, between love and loss, she found her way home. A year later, restless once again, she set off alone for India, a land of unsettling contradictions. A solo trek in the Himalayas completed that Asian journey.

By 1980 Ella was working for the International Red Cross, immersed in the heart-wrenching tragedy of a Cambodian refugee camp, and later that same year with the nomadic Issa in the drought-ridden desert of Djibouti, Africa. Faced with the immensity of poverty and suffering, her commitment to service was shaken.

Four decades later, in 2019, Ella returned to India, asking herself as an older woman, “Would I dare do now what I readily did then?” A Time of Light and Shadow explores one woman’s complicity in privilege, a troubled past with her mother, and reflections on solitude and friendship, youth and aging, longing and belonging.

About the author

Ella Harvey’s diverse career and her adventurous spirit have taken her to remote regions of the world, with experiences in Asia and Africa contributing to her world view. She has lived on five continents and worked on four. Along with A Time of Light and Shadow, she is also the author of Encounters on the Front Line: Cambodia – A Memoir. Ella, formerly known as Elaine, lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

Ella Harvey's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“In her powerful memoir A Time of Light and Shadow, Ella Harvey reveals her experiences as a nurse in high-conflict zones, a traveller in search of spirituality and love, and a daughter seeking to understand her mother. She brings to life the people she meets with clear, sharp brushstrokes, humility and respect.” —Claire Mulligan, Giller-nominated author of The Reckoning of Boston Jim and The Dark; award-winning screenwriter of The Still Life of Annika Myers; story consultant and editor; university instructor in creative writing

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