Coastal historian Jeanette Taylor unveils the unique past of Twin Islands.
Twin Islands form part of the lacey fringe at the southern edge of the Discovery Islands archipelago, where it meets the north Salish Sea. This is the interface between wilderness and urban settlement. To the north, heavily treed slopes rise vertically from the sea and fast tides churn through the constricted passages of a maze of islands and inlets. Navigating these waters is a white-knuckle challenge many recreational boaters avoid, ending their travels to the east in Desolation Sound Marine Park. To the south, the topography relaxes into a more habitable environment of open waters, villages, towns and highways. Those who do find their way to Twin are richly rewarded by a beautiful and tranquil destination—with a fascinating past.
Discovery of a trove of sepia-toned pictures of Twin Islands from the late 1930s drew Jeanette Taylor to research and document the history of the islands. She found a live-wire cast of characters typical of remote places, including a one-legged sheep farmer; an aristocratic Irish priest who was the victim of an unsolved murder; American tycoons fleeing Japan on the cusp of World War II; German royalty; and an anonymous heiress who rescued the islands from logging.
Through it all, Taylor found a thread among Twin’s people, passed from one generation to the next—like an invisible torch handed over with the deed: a love of nature and the place. Illustrated with historical photos and engagingly written, Sheltering in the Back Rush is an important addition to Harbour Publishing’s catalogue of coastal BC history.
About the author
Jeanette Taylor was on the curatorial staff for the Museum at Campbell River for nearly twenty years and executive director of the Campbell River Art Gallery for over a decade. Her passion for history, art and coastal life are evident in her books, River City: A History of Campbell River and the Discovery Islands, Exploring Quadra Island: Heritage Sites and Hiking Trails (Fernbank) and Tidal Passages: A History of the Discovery Islands. Taylor is the coordinator of The Scribes Comprehensive Writing Services, a collective of writers, editors and designers. She teaches nonfiction writing courses and workshops, and leads heritage sites tours aboard the historic Columbia III. Taylor is a resident of Quadra Island, BC.
“Sheltering in the Backrush is Jeanette Taylor’s chronicle of Twin Islands from a geological wonder to a gathering place for the wealthy. With so many enticements to keep us turning the pages, it is her most riveting book yet. She recounts tragic collisions between Indigenous peoples and European settlers. There are romances, murders, wars, visiting royalty, and wealthy entrepreneurs who love and protect the Islands—and timber-hungry developers eager to clear-cut the forests for a fast buck. The people of BC’s Discovery Islands are lucky to have Taylor as their resident historian. She brings such amazing people back from the dead.”
David Carpenter, author of <em>I Never Met a Rattlesnake I Didn’t Like</em>