Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Suggested age: 12-adult
Author: Pamela Porter
Publisher: Groundwood Books
The Loney children, Ran, Nora, Jim, and Addie must learn to survive when their father dies in a drunken stupor and leaves them to the mercy of their cruel and pious step-mother, Effie who flees town with a traveling bible salesman. Ran, the eldest, joins the army certain that it is his only choice to help support his siblings while Nora quits school to ensure that Jim and Addie can continue their schooling. Their little family is cast into a tailspin when Ran’s plane crashes and Ran is MIA. Left with only a few dollars they must overcome crooked postal workers, near-starvation, a bitter prairie winter, and quickly learn how to survive on their own. Set in 1941, against a historical backdrop, this tale seems to be written as a realistic fiction but the fantasy fan will be please to see how Porter infuses this otherwise realistic novel with spirit narrators.
Achingly beautiful prose tells the story of four orphaned children struggling to survive in a rural town in Saskatchewan. Porter interlaces the voices of the townspeople, children, and their own spirit parents to tell a ghost story like no other with various subplots weaving in and out of the Loney’s tale. This free-verse novel follows her award-winning, The Crazy Man, with its own accomplishment of winning an honourable mention from the BC Book Prize committee.