A single mother. An abandoned farmhouse. An epic battle with the northern wilderness.
Broke and desperate, Molly Bannister accepts the ironclad condition laid down in her great-aunt’s will: to receive her inheritance, Molly must spend one year in an abandoned, off-the-grid farmhouse in the remote backwoods of northern Alberta. If she does, she will be able to sell the farm and fund her four-year-old daughter’s badly needed medical treatment.
With grim determination, Molly teaches herself basic homesteading skills. But her greatest perils come from the brutal wilderness itself, from blizzards to grizzly bears. Will she and her child survive the savage winter? Will she outsmart the idealist young farmer who would thwart her plan to sell the farm? Not only their financial future, but their very lives are at stake. Only the journal written by Molly's courageous great-aunt, the land’s original homesteader, inspires her to struggle on.
Elinor Florence is an author and journalist. Before publishing her bestselling novel, Bird’s Eye View, she edited several daily newspapers and wrote for many publications, including Reader’s Digest Canada. Elinor lives in Invermere, British Columbia.
A warm and realistic portrait of Alberta’s Peace country.
Molly’s experience of her great-aunt’s way of life is so vividly described that readers will appreciate the strength and courage of past generations and feel grateful for the safeties and conveniences of modern life. The book will have particular appeal to readers interested in early-20th-century social history.
The plucky single mother heroine of Wildwood survives extreme weather, wildlife, and rural, off-the-grid isolation in northern Alberta to tell a charming and inspiring story that charts her transformation from milquetoast urban accountant to empowered, self-sufficient farmwoman. Also heartwarming: the old-timey baking – recipes included – and the touch of romance.
A delight from start to finish and it offers a fascinating look at homesteading in the Peace River region.
Wildwood not only captures the quintessential Canadian struggle against the elements with extraordinary energy, it illuminates what lies in the marrow of life: love, legacy, and the spirit to endure. This is homesteading with high stakes, and Molly Bannister is a heroine who pulls us into her heart and takes us on a journey into our own notions of resilience and courage.
What a glorious novel! With flawed and relatable characters, gorgeous description, and a loving but realistic look at a difficult lifestyle, Wildwood satisfies on every level. Through Molly’s modern eyes, we see the fortitude of pioneers in a refreshing way — and see our comfortable and rushed lives in a new way as well. Uplifting and thought-provoking, this is a novel to savor.
The sense of place is palpable in this book. In some ways, the setting is the main character because Molly spends so much of her time and herculean efforts reacting to and dealing with the brutal climate. Much of the dramatic tension in the book comes from the danger provided by environment in remotest Northern Canada.
Artfully melds the past and present for a story about homesteading. Likable characters deal with realistic, hair-raising scares and find hard-earned rewards in the wilderness.
Elinor Florence’s Wildwood is one of those rare books you linger over the final pages of with melancholy, not wanting her poignant story to end. A well-written, well-researched portrayal of pioneering in the Peace Country with vivid intriguing characters who commune with the earth and are healed by nature.
Offer this to city slickers dreaming of a simpler life and readers interested in unspoiled natural beauty.
The description of the settings — the house, the land, the cold, the wild, the forests and animals are astounding and certainly gives the reader a sense of place. The characters just came alive on the pages and there is so much growth in the characters of Molly, Bridget and Winona.
A wonderful read.
Elinor Florence’s love and respect for the ‘beautiful savage land’ of northern Alberta comes through loud and clear. Follow Molly and her great-aunt on their homesteading adventures and risk losing your heart to the wilds!
Wildwood satisfies on every level … Uplifting and thought-provoking, this is a novel to savor.
Reads like a love letter — from a mother to her daughter, from a Canadian to her land, from an author to her ancestors. In Molly Bannister, Elinor Florence has created a modern day Susanna Moodie roughing it in the Northern Alberta bush. The result is riveting, packed full of all the best stuff — peril, mystery, wisdom, laughs, and love.
Taking this journey with Molly was exciting and delightful.