Monday, August 19, 2013

Featured Evergreen™ Title: The Western Light

The Western Light
Susan Swan
FIC Swan

Susan Swan’s best-selling Wives of Bath was published nearly 20 years ago; in this novel, she brings back her main character, Mary Beatrice Bradford – Mouse for short – as a child.

Mouse’s world is constrained by a number of factors: her mother is dead, her father – the admired country doctor – is emotionally distant, her housekeeper Sal is prejudiced and narrow, and her grandmother and aunt, Big Louie and Little Louie, the only life-affirming presences in her life, live in another city.

Enter Gentleman John Pilkie, the former NHL star who’s transferred to the mental hospital in Madoc's Landing, where he is to serve out his life-sentence for the murder of his wife and daughter. John becomes a point of fascination for young Mary, who looks to him for the attention she does not receive from her father.

He, in turn, is kind to her – but the kindness is misunderstood.
Watch the video book trailer – Projections of Georgian Bay with Susan Swan poetically sharing highlights of her book.

Or, read and listen to Shelagh Rogers discussing this book with Susan Swan earlier this year.

If you were intrigued by the intersection of psychiatry and health care while reading this novel, you can explore the fascinating history of other Ontario institutions online – try these:
Toronto’s Provincial Lunatic Asylum (Now CAMH)
Hamilton Asylum for the Insane (Currently the Centre for Mountain Health Services)
Whitby Psychiatric Hospital (now part of Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences)
Rockwood Asylum, 1878 – 1905: For the Criminally Insane (Kingston)

Don’t forget, if you read this book as part of SPL’s STARR Summer Reading program, you can claim 2 stamps on your Rewards Card, and also be eligible to vote during Ontario Public Library Week, October 20-26, to choose the winner of the Evergreen™ Award!

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