The Forest Horses
Coteau Books / 29 October 2010

The Forest Horses by Byrna Barclay Published by Coteau Books Review by Kris Brandhagen $21.00 ISBN 978-1-55050-447-7 Spanning decades, Byrna Barclay’s The Forest Horses is an unconventional love story, a passionate tale set in Russia, Sweden, and Canada. The tale is comprised of four stories intertwined: Pytor is a Russian horse thief who abducts Lena–a Swedish teenager–along with a herd of forty ponies which are the forest horses of the title. Eventually they marry, and daughter Signe is born to Pytor and Lena, as they lead a pony caravan carrying food to the starving, and evacuating refugees from war torn Leningrad during the German siege in 1941. Maryushka, Pytor’s sister, ‘does her part for her country;’ and the reader is exposed to an evocative and detailed description of the denigration of her life and Leningrad. Barclay seamlessly works in historical detail through Maryushka, a worker for the war effort who spends her days on an assembly line. From fear of being accused of treason, Maryushka works herself to the bone for a country that cannot provide her with food: “Food. That’s all the women at work ever talk about now: what’s for supper tonight, how hungry they still are, till…

Don’t Think Twice
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 29 October 2010

Don’t Think Twice by Alison Lohans Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Karen Lawson $14.95 ISBN 978-1-894431-35-4 Anyone who came of age during the turbulent 1960s will immediately relate to the novel Don’t Think Twice by prolific Saskatchewan author, Alison Lohans. It is challenging enough to write a smoothly flowing story that is set in just one time period but Lohans takes on the difficult writer’s task of merging dual stories from two different eras. The plots swing seamlessly from 1967 to 1997 and merge to form a unified and smooth conclusion. Jan, a middle aged mother is frantically searching for her rebellious, runaway daughter, Lisa. She discovers that writing a journal to her daughter expressing her own emotions helps to alleviate her worries and fears about her daughter’s well being and safety. Jan shares her innermost feelings and explains how she survived her own tumultuous youth. She tells the story of how she met Lisa’s father Rob when they were both teenagers growing up in rural California. Jan became close to his family and explains how their views and liberal lifestyle impacted her own political beliefs and ideas. She also shares the story of the devastating family…

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