Stony Point


a novel by S. Noël McKay

Print: 978-177133-168-5 – $22.95
ePUB: 978-177133-169-2 – $9.99
PDF: 978-177133-171-5 – $9.99

298 Pages
August 20, 2014

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Like Outlander by Gil Adamson, Stony Point is a novel about a strong female character who finds herself in the region of Frank, Alberta in 1903 just after the landslide that devastated much of the town. Lucille, the heroine of Stony Point, is a newspaper reporter from Winnipeg who has come to Stony Point, just down the rail line from Frank, to try to find her brother-in-law, also a reporter, who went missing a couple of weeks earlier. It turns out that Stan was writing about the plight of coal miners and was in the company of a union organizer the evening they both disappeared on their way to Frank.

Lucille is a natural activist. She puts up posters offering a reward for information that would lead her to Stan and she writes letters to politicians as well as the RCMP officer’s supervisor trying to get some action. She decides to continue Stan’s research on coal mining conditions and writes a book on the subject. Her letters get the mining owner replaced as chairman of his board. Stony Point is a frontier town ablaze with conflicts. Lucille battles official indifference regarding her missing brother-in-law. The coal miners are struggling for their right to organize. All of these conflicts make for a lively narrative.

Although set it in 1903, the reactionary forces against which Lucille struggles have become more powerful in 2013. Like in Lucille’s time, politicians favour the interests of the propertied class over the working class. Readers will enjoy the characters, especially Lucille, who struggles against the established order and the restrictions it places on her as a woman in 1903.

“How exciting to read in McKay’s gripping debut novel about a feisty woman in 1903 who, caught up in the miseries of the miners of an early western Canadian coal mining town, defied harsh management in support of the workers. Lucille Reilly is an inspiration.”
—Mary Lou Dickinson, author of Ile D’Or and Would I Lie to You?

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It features a brave and likeable female protagonist who is not afraid to do battle with fearsome old-boys’-club mining villains. The writing is so descriptive that I felt as if I really was in a mining town in Alberta in 1903. There’s lots of action, a dose of lovely romance, a bunch of well-rounded characters and the swift-moving plot makes for a really good read! It’s also a great reminder how much life has changed for women, since that time.”
—Lisa de Nikolits, author of The Witchdoctor’s Bones

S. Noël McKay has lived in Alberta most of her life. She attended the University of Alberta before starting a career in the transportation industry. She currently lives in Edmonton, Alberta, with her cat, Cletus. Both enjoy snowboarding. Stony Point is her debut novel.

On its way west, the Canadian Pacific Railroad train stopped in Frank. Lucille Reilly stepped down from the coach car onto the wooden platform of the tiny station. She looked around in the bright afternoon sunshine. Turtle Mountain loomed above with the broad scar running down the center of its face where the portion of its summit had slid down. A blanket of limestone rubble covered the valley. More mountains rose in the distance along the winding valley of the Crowsnest Pass. Lucille pressed her lips together. How am I going to find Stanley in all this wilderness, she asked herself.

She straightened her shoulders and lifted her head, refusing to be discouraged. A robust woman of medium height with a wide bosom and broad hips, she wore a straw skimmer hat with a white band and a bow on the side of the crown. Her skirt and bodice were in the style of a tennis costume; the cream-coloured bodice had buttons running up the left side and bishop’s sleeves that were baggy but not too large. The skirt had a black belt with a large silver buckle at the waist. Lucille carried a parasol in her right hand. It was too frilly for her outfit, but  her parasol was actually a concealed weapon and she never went anywhere without it. As she waited, she glanced at a little watch that hung from a silver chain around her neck. In less than thirty minutes she would arrive in Stony Point, another town in the Crowsnest Pass west of Frank. Her brother-in-law had disappeared from Stony Point almost two weeks ago. It was Lucille’s mission to find him.

With enough anguish in her own life, she didn’t need to gawk at someone else’s; for this reason she didn’t go look at the wreckage from the landslide. But even though a few weeks had passed, one could still marvel at the extent of the disaster. Eighty million tons of rock had crushed the eastern edge of Frank and spread out over the valley for over a square mile. Presently in the town workmen were pushing barrows or carrying shovels and picks up and down either side of Dominion Avenue. At the station returning evacuees stepped off the train with bundles in their arms, and to the left of Lucille a ragged boy was trying to sell a fist-sized rock to one of the train passengers.  “Some of the big rocks still got blood on them from rolling over folks,” the boy enthused. Lucille shifted restlessly from foot to foot.  Absolutely nothing was fascinating about the number of people the slide had killed or left destitute.”



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