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
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