Contemporary Atlantic gothic fiction inspired by Nova Scotia's notorious Goler clan.
I move around the side of the house. There is a thick mass of shrubs on the north-east side. Juniper, and caragana gone wild. Without thinking, I pluck a flower and put it into my mouth, savouring the delicate yellowness of its flavour. Now when did I learn to do that? Who first put a caragana blossom on my tongue?
Emma G. Weaver easily loses herself in history. She's much more comfortable imagining the lives of the dead than getting involved with the living. She pushes down nagging questions about her own history, but when her Master's research leads her from her safe and comfortable life in Edmonton, Alberta, back to the south shore of Nova Scotia, those questions can't help but bubble to the surface. And Emma soon finds that the lives of the dead are inextricably linked to the lives of the living, that secrets don't stay hidden forever—and that everything changes when they come to light.
Inspired by the true story of the notorious Goler clan of Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley, this work of contemporary Atlantic gothic fiction troubles the boundaries between myth and truth, villains and victims.
Rebecca Babcock is an award-winning writer living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She holds a Master's degree from the University of Alberta and a PhD from Dalhousie University. She often worries about being asked for medical help and having to explain she's not that kind of doctor. She has previously published a short story collection, Every Second Weekend, and her fiction has appeared in literary magazines in Canada and abroad. One Who Has Been Here Before is her first novel.
"Many paths lead away from tragedy. What happens after an entire extended family is carted away amidst reports of abuse and neglect? From page one I was drawn into the ever-darkening woods of One Who Has Been Here Before. Rebecca Babcock's debut novel takes us beyond the whispers of scandal, humanizing a story of shame with fully-drawn characters, keen attention to detail and superb pacing. It's a heartbreaking story of a shattered family rooted in Nova Scotia's not-so-distant past." —Nicola Davison, award-winning author of In the Wake
"Rebecca Babcock has done what most good writers do: taken an old story and made it new again. One Who Has Been Here Before is wonderfully written, evoking thought, questions, and ponderings long after the last page is read. First novel? I'm betting it won't be her last!" —Donna Morrissey, award-winning author of The Fortunate Brother
"A strong, confident debut novel about a complicated homecoming, peopled with characters you will remember and even almost recognize. Brimming with compassion, One Who Has Been Here Before explores family in all its forms, those we're born to and those we build, those we lose and those we find again." —Rebecca Silver Slayter, author of In the Land of Birdfishes and The Second History
"A contemplative and compelling novel about a young woman's fascination with a notorious Nova Scotia family. One Who Has Been Here Before is an artfully braided book about the power of storytelling, history, and, ultimately, belonging." —Harriet Alida Lye, author of The Honey Farm and Natural Killer