"Issy, Louise, even her mother, are all characters
to enrich one's life."
"This satisfying read is highly
recommended for young readers of all ages."
"Readers will want
to encourage her to be a swan..."
Saddled with a mean, bedridden mother; an older, increasingly
bitter sister; and a lovely but mainly absent father, Issy is
desperate to leave her miserable life in Newfoundland and dreams
of heading to the mainland, maybe even to a big city like Toronto.
She has no friends her own age, she's failing in school, and
the dearest person to her in the world, her great aunt Lady
has just died. With the small legacy Lady has left her, Issy
is more determined than ever to escape when she turns sixteen,
hopefully beating her older sister, Louise, out the door. But
there's one thing that is holding Issy back; she is illiterate.
She can't read at all, and never could. How far can she really
go? Then she and her sister nearly drown, but a kind and gentle
boy from her past comes to the rescue and stays to help Issy
to find herself.
Released by Penguin April 2008
did you make Issy so sad and unloved?
I believe girls have a lot to contend
with as they grow up. And while many of us would like lives
lived out the way they are in the movies, that's just not
the way it is for a vast majority of us. I also wanted to
try to get inside the head of a girl who has a learning challenge.
you make up the bit about skating across the bay?
I actually made this trip a few times when
I was teaching school at 18 on the south coast of Newfoundland.
They guys really did pull out an aluminum boat from the shoreline
when the steamer had come in and cut a swath of open water
in our path. What's not in the book is that another weekend
when we left the boat to walk the few hundred meters home,
we heard a terrible crack and the local guys made us all step
back carefully one at a time. The ice had broken open and
we were very lucky they knew what to do.
is this book connected to Seven for a Secret?
When I started to write, I had no intention
of connecting the books. But I couldn't stop Kate Derby from
showing up on the scene and once she was there I thought I
would catch up on the rest of the Derby family in the next
book, Three for a Wedding.
do you have two different publishers and two different looks for
your book covers?
It is quite common to have different publishers
as different publishers are interested in different topics
and genres at different times. I've enjoyed working with both
Groundwood and Penguin. The art department at the publishers
decides on the cover art.
Issy's mother a little over the top?
Maybe, but she is loosely based on my own demanding
mother who was a British warbride, and who came to Newfoundland
with my father after World War II. By the way, my father was
also hard of hearing because of an accident during the war,
and it was only when writing this book that I came to realize
how easy it must have been for other girls to talk to their