Nora Macpherson, an RCMP constable assigned to a ranching and logging community in a rugged wilderness of mountains, forests and glacial lakes and rivers, is one of the first female Mounties. Lonely for female company, Nora befriends teacher Abby Clarke, whose student, Tess, involves them in a search for answers to an old puzzle. Solving this mystery awakens Nora to other unsolved disappearances. More
Wildwoods Child tells a story about missing person whose disappearance has long gone unnoticed. The setting is the mid-1970’s in the remote area between the watershed of the Skeena and Fraser Rivers, a wilderness landscape of snow-capped mountains, dense coniferous forests and glacial lakes and rivers deep in the heartland of British Columbia. Long the home of various bands of the Dene people, the area has since the Second World War become inhabited by a mix of white settlers from all parts of Europe and North America.
Nora Macpherson is a rookie RCMP constable on her first assignment to Moose Forks, a ranching and logging community on Highway 16, known to locals as the Yellowhead. As one of the first-ever female Mounties, Nora must contend with the biases of some of her male colleagues as well as the social isolation of being a law enforcement officer in a small town. Nora finds her superior officer is unwelcoming and arrogant, but finds some social connection with younger fellow RCMP constables. Mostly, she feels lonely and underappreciated.
She befriends a young teacher, Abby Clarke, whose problem student, Tess Talbot, is having trouble adapting to school because she has been kept home with her ailing mother who has supposedly been home-schooling her. When she arrives at school after her mother’s death, Tess is virtually illiterate and extremely asocial. Her teacher Abby feels the father, rancher Hank Talbot, has much to answer for, but comes up against the barrier of parental privilege. Schooling is little valued by the ranching people of the back country. Her efforts to overcome this obstacle lead to her asking Constable Nora Macpherson for help in what is suspected as a case of child abuse. This investigation leads to questions about mysterious disappearances from years before.
This story captures life in a small town in the BC Interior before the age of mass communication, when people relied on each other and the environment for their livelihoods and entertainment. It is the first in a series, “The Lost Women” all of which will be novels focused on telling stories of the missing and murdered women of Canada’s wilderness, many of whom came from First Nations communities.
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