Steal Away Home: One Woman's Epic Flight to Freedom- And Her Long Road Back to the South
by Karolyn Smardz Frost
HarperCollins Canada $29.99
Biography / History
ON SALE JANUARY 24
In this compelling work of narrative non-fiction, Governor General’s Award winner Karolyn Smardz Frost brings Cecelia Reynolds's story to life. Cecelia was a teenager when she made her dangerous bid for freedom from the United States, across the Niagara River and into Canada. Escape meant that she would never see her mother or brother again. She would be cut off from the young mistress with whom she grew up, but who also owned her as a slave holder owns the body of a slave. This was a time when people could be property, when a beloved father could be separated from his wife while their children were auctioned off to the highest bidder, and the son of a white master and his black housekeeper could become a slave to his own white half-sister and brother-in-law.
Cecelia found a new life in Toronto’s vibrant African American expatriate community. Her rescuer became her husband, a courageous conductor on the Underground Railroad helping other freedom-seekers reach Canada. Widowed, she braved the Fugitive Slave Law to cross back into the United States, where she again found love, and followed her William into the battlefields of the Civil War. Finally, with a wounded husband and young children in tow, she returned to the Kentucky she had known as a child. But her home had changed: hooded Night Riders roamed the countryside with torches and nooses at the ready. When William disappeared, Cecelia relied on the support and affection of her former mistress—the Southern belle who had owned her as a child.
Only five of the letters between Cecelia and her former mistress, Fanny Thruston Ballard, have survived. They are testament to the great love and the lifelong friendship that existed between these two very different women. Reunited after years apart, the two lived within a few blocks of each other for the rest of Fanny’s life.
by Emily Bitto
Hamish Hamilton $32.00
Winner of Australia’s 2015 Stella Prize.
For readers of Atonement, a hauntingly powerful story about the fierce friendship between three sisters and their friend as they grow up on the outskirts of their parents' wild and bohemian artistic lives.
On her first day at a new school, Lily befriends Eva and her sisters Beatrice and Heloise, daughters of the infamous avant-garde painter Evan Trentham. An only child from an unremarkable, working-class family, Lily has never experienced a household like the Trenthams'—a community of like-minded artists Evan and his wife have created, all living and working together to escape the stifling conservatism of 1930s Australia. And Lily has never met anyone like Eva, whose unabashed confidence and worldly knowledge immediately draw her in.
Infatuated by the creative chaos of the Trenthams and the artists who orbit them, Lily aches to fully belong in their world, craving something beyond her own ordinary life. She becomes a fixture in their home, where she and Eva spend their days lounging in the garden, filching cigarettes and wine, and skirting the fringes of the adults’ glamorous lives, who create scandalous art during the day and host lavish, debauched parties by night. But, as seductive as the artists’ utopian vision appears, behind it lies both darkness and dysfunction. The further the girls are pulled in, the greater the consequences.
With elegance and vibrancy, The Strays evokes the intense bonds of girlhood friendships, the volatile undercurrents of a damaged family, and the yearning felt by an outsider looking in.
Better Now: Six Big Ideas to Improve Health Care for All Canadians
by Dr Danielle Martin
Allen Lane $32.00
Medical / Health Policy
Dr Danielle Martin see the challenges in our health care system every day. As a family doctor and a hospital vice president, she observes how those deficiencies adversely affect patients. And as a health policy expert, she knows how to close those gaps. A passionate believer in the value of fairness that underpins the Canadian health care system, Dr. Martin is on a mission to improve medicare. In Better Now, she shows how bold fixes are both achievable and affordable. Her patients’ stories and her own family’s experiences illustrate the evidence she presents about what works best to improve health care for all.
Better Now outlines “Six Big Ideas” to bolster Canada’s health care system. Each one is centred on a typical Canadian patient, making it clear how close to home these issues strike.
· Ensure every Canadian has regular access to a family doctor or other primary care provider
· Bring prescription drugs under medicare
· Reduce unnecessary tests and interventions
· Reorganize health care delivery to reduce wait times and improve quality
· Implement a basic income guarantee to alleviate poverty, which is a major threat to health
· Scale up successful local innovations to a national level
Passionate, accessible, and authoritative, Dr. Martin is a fervent supporter of the best of medicare and a persuasive critic of what needs fixing.
by Jonathan Coe
Alfred A. Knopf $36.95
ON SALE JANUARY 24
The long-awaited sequel to The Winshaw Legacy, the novel that introduced American readers to one of Britain's most exciting new writers--an acerbic, hilariously dark, and unflinching portrait of modern society.
The novel opens in the early aughts: two ten-year-olds, Alison and Rachel, have a frightening encounter with the "Mad Bird Woman" who lives down the road. As the narrative progresses through time, the novel envelops others who are connected to the girls: Alison's mother, a has-been singer, competing on a hit reality TV show; Rachel's university mentor confronting her late husband's disastrously obsessive search for a German film he saw as a child; a young police constable investigating the seemingly accidental and unrelated deaths of two stand-up comedians; the ludicrously wealthy family who hire Rachel as a nanny--under whose immense London mansion Rachel will discover a dark and terrifying secret. Psychological insight, social commentary, vicious satire, and even surrealist horror are combined in this highly accomplished work to hold up a revealing, disquieting mirror to the world we live in today.
Death in the Family
by John Chipman
Doubleday Canada $37.00
Forensic Science / Law
In a work of vigorous reporting, careful analysis, deep compassion and unerring integrity, award-winning journalist and documentarian John Chipman investigates the lives left ruined in the wake of Dr. Charles Smith's ignominious career.
In the mid-'90s, the Ontario Coroner's office decided that death investigation teams needed to "think dirty." They wanted coroners, pathologists and police to be more suspicious--to "assume that all deaths are homicides until satisfied that they are not." They were particularly concerned about pediatric deaths, which historically had been exceedingly difficult to investigate. There were usually no witnesses; no evidence to gather at the scene; no outward signs of trauma on the body. If the pathologist did not discover the truth of what had happened, child abuse could go uncovered.
Among those charged to "think dirty" was Dr. Charles Smith, Ontario's top pediatric forensic pathologist at the time. But with virtually no training in forensics, Dr. Smith was ill prepared for his work. Instead of basing his judgments on forensic evidence found during autopsies, he allowed himself to be swayed by circumstantial evidence. The defendants were often single mothers--some on welfare, some struggling with substance abuse. And they made for easy targets. Dr. Smith made dangerous assumptions, and the results were catastrophic. Numerous individuals were pronounced guilty, and incarcerated, on his shaky evidence.
This penetrating investigative work explores the wide ripples of destruction caused when the justice system fails, the burden felt by ethical individuals working within that system and the importance of its victims finally being heard.
Little Blue Chair
by Cary Fagan, Illustrated by Madeleine Kloepper
Tundra Books $22.99
Fiction (Ages 3-7)
A sweet, whimsical tale that chronicles the journey of a chair as it changes hands and uses. Perfect for fans of The Good Little Book, Something for Nothing and Virginia Lee Burton's The Little House.
Boo's favorite chair is little and blue. He sits in it, reads in it and makes a tent around it...until the day he grows too big for it. His mother puts the little blue chair out on the lawn where a truck driver picks it up. The truck driver sells it to a lady in a junk store where it sits for many years until it's sold and put to use as a plant stand. In the years that follow, the little blue chair is used in many other ways -- on an elephant ride, in a contest, on a Ferris wheel, in a tree...until the day it flies away, borne aloft by balloons, and lands in a garden of daffodils where a familiar face finds it.
A charming, beautifully illustrated read-aloud that follows the adventures of a little chair, beginning as the seat of a small child who loves books and circling back to that child's child many years (and bottoms) later.
The Ethan I Was Before
by Ali Standish
Fiction (Ages 8-12)
Life can be transformed in one moment, but does that one moment define you for life?
Lost in the Sun meets The Thing About Jellyfish in Ali Standish’s breathtaking debut. A poignant middle grade novel of friendship and forgiveness, The Ethan I Was Before is a classic in the making.
Ethan had been many things. He was always ready for adventure and always willing to accept a dare, especially from his best friend, Kacey. But that was before. Before the accident that took Kacey from him. Before his family moved from Boston to the small town of Palm Knot, Georgia.
Palm Knot may be tiny, but it’s the home of possibility and second chances. It’s also home to Coralee, a girl with a big personality and even bigger stories. Coralee may be just the friend Ethan needs, except Ethan isn’t the only one with secrets. Coralee’s are catching up with her, and what she’s hiding might be putting both their lives at risk. The Ethan I Was Before is a story of love and loss, wonder and adventure, and ultimately of hope.
The You I've Never Known
by Ellen Hopkins
Margaret McElderberry $25.99
Fiction (Ages 14+)
ON SALE JANUARY 24
How do you live your life if your past is based on a lie? A new novel in both verse and prose from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Ellen Hopkins.
For as long as she can remember, it’s been just Ariel and Dad. Ariel’s mom disappeared when she was a baby. Dad says home is wherever the two of them are, but Ariel is now seventeen and after years of new apartments, new schools, and new faces, all she wants is to put down some roots. Complicating things are Monica and Gabe, both of whom have stirred a different kind of desire.
Maya’s a teenager who’s run from an abusive mother right into the arms of an older man she thinks she can trust. But now she’s isolated with a baby on the way, and life’s getting more complicated than Maya ever could have imagined.
Ariel and Maya’s lives collide unexpectedly when Ariel’s mother shows up out of the blue with wild accusations: Ariel wasn’t abandoned. Her father kidnapped her fourteen years ago.
What is Ariel supposed to believe? Is it possible Dad’s woven her entire history into a tapestry of lies? How can she choose between the mother she’s been taught to mistrust and the father who has taken care of her all these years?
In bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’s deft hands, Ariel’s emotionally charged journey to find out the truth of who she really is balances beautifully with Maya’s story of loss and redemption. This is a memorable portrait of two young women trying to make sense of their lives and coming face to face with themselves—for both the last and the very first time.
Hope Has Two Daughters
by Monia Mazigh
House of Anansi $22.95
Unwilling to endure a culture of silence and submission, and disowned by her family, Nadia leaves her native Tunisia in 1984 amidst deadly violence, chaos, and rioting brought on by rising food costs, eventually emigrating to Canada to begin her life.
More than twenty-five years later, Nadia’s daughter Lila reluctantly travels to Tunisia to learn about her mother’s birth country. While she’s there, she connects with Nadia’s childhood friends, Neila and Mounir. She uncovers agonizing truths about her mother’s life as a teenager and imagines what it might have been like to grow up in fear of political instability and social unrest. As she is making these discoveries, protests over poor economic conditions and lack of political freedom are increasing, and soon, Lila finds herself in the midst of another revolution — one that will inflame the country and change the Arab world, and her, forever.
Weaving together the voices of two women at two pivotal moments in history, the Tunisian Bread Riots in 1984 and the Jasmine Revolution in 2010, Hope Has Two Daughters is a bracing, vivid story that perfectly captures life inside revolution.
Speaking in Cod Tongues: A Canadian Culinary Journey
by Lenore Newman
University of Regina Press $29.95
Lenore Newman explores Canada's rich and evolving culinary landscape in Speaking in Cod Tongues. From oceans to prairie, from bakeapples to fiddleheads, from maple syrup to k'aaw, from the height of urban dining to picnics in parks, Newman describes a delicious and emerging melange representing the multifaceted nature of Canada.
"Humourous and intellectual, poignant and celebratory, theoretical and poetic, all in the same space. I am not aware of any other scholarly or popular book that covers such a wide ground on Canadian food culture with so much detail and skill." Irena Knezevic, Food Security Scholar, Carleton University
"A fascinating culinary tour." Janis Thiessen, Food Historian, University of Winnipeg and author of the forthcoming Snacks: A Canadian Food History