New Beginnings on Vancouver Island – based upon a real journey.
“When the music stopped Kate didn’t know what to do, so she made as if to leave, but Stag put a light hand upon her arm. ‘Don’t be going yet, lass. It’s only just starting to liven up a bit. don’t you like to dance? You look as if you do.’
‘I like it very much, I thought you might like a rest.’
‘Me? Not want to dance? Why it’s a sure thing you don’t know me and my ways.’ He threw back his head and a rich laugh came from deep within his throat. ‘Nay, I live to dance.’ His eyes travelled over her face. ‘Unless you don’t want to?'”
It’s 1854 and colliers from Whitehaven and Brierley Hill are emigrating to work for the Hudson’s Bay Company opening up the mines in Colville on Vancouver Island off the West coast of Canada. Their journey from Whitehaven via Liverpool takes over 6 months and includes travelling around The Horn in winter stopping only once in Honolulu for supplies. Conditions, especially in steerage, are very difficult; there are births and deaths along the way yet they manage and begin new lives in Canada. Some of them fall in love along the way, others have to face up to demons they thought they’d left behind and honour pacts made years ago.
This novel is based upon a journey made by my forebears. It is a work of faction – fiction based on fact. I have used family papers, information from the original log book and other papers. The story was told to me by my Canadian mother as part of my heritage, but it is not about my family. I have changed the name of the ship and taken some liberties with Whitehaven, Liverpool and Colville.
The picture is of some of the descendants of the first pioneers, including my grandfather, arms crossed, in the centre as a young boy.