In 1910, while twelve-year-old Addy McLeod waits in a cabin in the Kootenay wilderness of southeastern British Columbia for her brother, Cask, to send for her, she fends off the unwanted advances of her alcoholic stepfather. When tragedy strikes, she is forced to flee and disguise herself as a boy.
Addy’s determined search for Cask becomes a journey of self-discovery as she encounters a tough trapper woman who cares for her when she’s ill, works in a hotel in the silver town of Kaslo on Kootenay Lake, and meets her first love, Ian.
But just as Addy’s search for Cask is about to end, the First World War breaks out and her world is torn apart once again. With great resolve she devotes herself to joining the war effort on the home front and eventually learns what forgiveness is all about.
Ann Chandler has published non-fiction for adults in Reader's Digest, The Beaver, and Canadian Cowboy Country. Her previous novel for young people was Siena Summer. She lives in Coquitlam, British Columbia.
"Most compelling is Addy herself: not only is she hard-working and determined, but despite having no family, little formal education, and no community, she has an unflappable moral compass. The majority of the secondary characters are also finely drawn, and Chandler employs humour and well-chosen details to make each stand out."
The book presents an interesting picture of life in the Kootenays in the time just before World War IEven today, it remains interesting to see all these components in a story with a heroine rather than a hero.