Viv is a woman of many sides — smart but easily misled, practical but given to odd ideas, calculating but prone to pratfalls, interested in ideas but a shallow thinker, insecure and vulnerable but determined and hard-nosed, capable of strong friendship but also capable of saying, “Loyalty is a means to an end.”
She and her husband live in a condominium in Western Canada in a place that resembles Edmonton, Alberta. Extremely frustrated by having to live with decisions made by the condo board, she rebels and plans to run for board president. She even thinks about separating from condo life and finding a dream home of her own to match her dream of personal perfection. But can living with dreams bring her true happiness? And is she living her own destiny or someone else’s?
In 1957, Hamilton is a city steeped in memories of the Second World War and other conflicts. Eighteen-year-old Jack Crandall is becoming obsessed with learning more about his father, a Canadian soldier who abandoned him and his mother, and died in the Dieppe Raid. He finds a kind of father substitute in Walter Haffner, the taciturn German army veteran he works for. But when a Canadian army vet is found beaten into a coma, Jack has to accept that Walter may not have forgotten the war despite never wanting to talk about it. Will Jack want to find out the truth? Can he cope with his worry that he may be too much like his unreliable father to have a lasting relationship with any of the girls he likes? A story of friendship, loyalty, laughter, sadness, reluctant love, the legacy of war — and of Hamilton, a city of unapologetic grit and surprising natural beauty in the heart of Canada.
"It’s a moving story of the effects of war and how it changes life in ways that you don’t always see. A gripping read." — Goodreads reviewer
"Love this book! The author’s style reminds me of Steinbeck!" — Goodreads reviewer
Red Hill Creek. The creek has been modified over the years by the addition of rock barriers, as seen in the middle and bottom of this photograph.
A portion of Van Wagner's Beach in Hamilton, on a cloudy and unusually windy day. This area is about as sandy as the beach gets.
The upper portion of Albion Falls, which is overall about twice as high as shown here. The section of Red Hill Creek visited by hikers flows from the falls.