Wildwood by Elinor Florence
Wildwood, by Elinor Florence is the story of Molly Bannister, a single mother struggling to make ends meet and to provide for her young daughter, Bridget, who needs special care. Out of the blue she receives word that her great aunt has willed her a cabin in remote northern Alberta. Currently living in Arizona with few options, Molly goes to Juniper, Alberta to give the rural life a shot. The cabin comes with a stipulation that it will be Molly’s only once she has lived there for one year. Molly plans to stick it out for the year, and then sell the cabin and resume her life in Arizona.
Arriving at the cabin, she finds it is in pretty good condition, having been watched over by the neighbours since her aunt moved into care. The place is in need of a good clean, which is a bit of challenge because the place is completely off the grid: no running water, electricity, or phone; the closest neighbour is a few miles away.
Molly, a true city girl, is fortunate to have the early support of those who live in Juniper as she gets herself set up for a year of rustic living. She quickly learns to cook, launder and sew in the pioneer way to provide for herself and Bridget.
As each month goes by, Molly counts down the days and wonders if she has made the right choice. Molly finds and begins to read her great aunt’s old journal and the novel continues in alternating chapters between Molly’s present day struggles and those of her great aunt so many years ago. The entries outlining the early days of homesteading the land on which Molly and Bridget now live, help Molly to get through the days of isolation. She finds strength both from the journal and from her daily challenges, growing to appreciate the gifts of nature, just as her aunt once did.
This is not an action packed story, instead more of a sentimental tale of survival and finding out who you really are; one in which you may find that what you’re looking for has been there all along. If you like tales that have an element of nature and intertwine the past and the present, this is a must read for you.
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