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OLIVIA’S MINE marks Janine McCaw’s debut as a popular fiction writer. For the Vancouver-based novelist it is the beginning of a dream, and the fruit of years of working in a different creative realm.
McCaw’s deep understanding of compelling plots, widely appealing characters, natural dialogue and strong story arcs comes directly out of her early career in the film and television industry. McCaw’s skills as an observer started early when her family uprooted from the City to small town Ontario – and she became the classic fish out of water. Writing down her thoughts became an outlet as she scribbled her way through childhood, while she also developed her observational skills and visual eye with photography. A die-hard hockey fan, McCaw studied Cinematography at Humber College, and was headed for a career as a cameraperson covering professional sports when she landed an internship in a broadcasting services company.
McCaw excelled in the television distribution arena. She joined Thomas Howe & Associates and moved with that company to Vancouver, where she distinguished herself with her talent for identifying the right product for the right market, and her people-skills in negotiating contracts. After furthering her professional development with several high-profile Canadian entertainment companies, she parlayed her reputation as a leading Cable Programming specialist into her own boutique firm. Formed with a partner, Dark Horse Ent. specialized in finding, and selling, niche Canadian television series - entertainment, information and variety - around the Globe. McCaw also acted as an independent executive producer on award-winning television Classic Car series, CHROME DREAMS, and as a distributor for series including ENTRÉE TO ASIA, and AT HOME WITH HERBS.
In high demand as an insightful, humorous and engaging guest speaker, juror and analyst for festivals and trade forums around the country, McCaw also spent large amounts of time traveling abroad to television markets. Increasingly, she turned her main hobby into outlines for novels, and finished fleshing out the characters, plot and dialogue for OLIVIA’S MINE, a fictional account of a young bride’s struggle to make a life for herself against the backdrop of the disasters that hit Britannia Beach, British Columbia in the early 1900s.
HELENS-OF-TROY, a teenage vampire romp best described as "The Gilmore Girls meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer," is the first book of what promises to be an easy-reading series. She is currently working on the second volume: Helens-of-Troy:Nightmare on Jacey Street.
Sharon E. Cathcart
on Jan. 20, 2012 :
Overall score: 3.75 stars. If the editing were better, this would be 4.5 stars or more.
"Olivia's Mine" is the story of Olivia Fitzpatrick, a young married woman living in a Canadian mining town in the early 20th century. We see her through an abusive marriage, trying to run a business of her own and find her place in what passes for society in little Britannia Beach.
McCaw deals with very real issues of women's rights, coverture law, racial prejudice and more in this story. There were a great many things to like.
Unfortunately, I found myself jerked out of the tale by editorial issues like using a possessive apostrophe when a plural was intended, homophone errors ("last rights" instead of "last rites") and errors like "Aryan sweater" where "Arran sweater" was intended. It's kind of a shame, because the story line was very good and kept me interested. I cared about the characters, but the poor editing was a real distraction.
I hope that the author will have the book edited and re-issue it; it really is a worthwhile tale that deserves better packaging.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Nov. 27, 2011 :
This was a good book, but there was so much foreshadowing that the end came as an anti-climax. I appreciated that the book included the stories of Japanese and Chinese workers as well as the main characters (who are of European descent).
(reviewed long after purchase)
on July 12, 2011 :
Good story, and engaging characters, but... too much detail in some things, yet the author skims through or completely skips other, important parts. The writing could use cleaning up and editing, and the story line could be tightened up a bit. I did enjoy the story, regardless.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on May 08, 2011 :
Olivia’s Mine is a great story as well as a detailed look at early 20th century life in the North West. The reader is quickly drawn into a cast of engaging characters and, along with them, struggles through a barrage of disasters and personal struggles. The author’s sincere love for the local area is obvious. I definitely recommend it.
(reviewed the day of purchase)