Through Flood and Fire {Living Book Review}

Through_Flood_FireTitle: Through Flood and Fire {Book Review}
Author: Anne Patton
Publisher: Coteau Books

Age Range: Children (9+)
Time Period: 1903
Location: Saskatchewan

Dorothy is in a campsite on the edge of a little village called Saskatoon. The year is 1903 and the 10-year-old girl and her family have come all the way from England to Canada. They are heading to a new settlement.

While her mother stays behind to nurse victims of scarlet fever, Dorothy sets out with the rest of the family across the prairies to the Barr Colony. But it is going to take all her courage and determination – and some help – to make it through the floods, the wildfires and broken promises.

The sequel to the book Full Steam to Canada, this new story continues the adventures of the Dorothy Bolton and her family. Now in Canada, they have to make the trek from the tents that they were living in at Saskatoon to the land that was promised them.

I was instantly drawn back into the world of Dorothy and her family – from the first page of the book, thanks to Dodie’s independent spirit and the crazy wild world around her. This book was a clear reminder to me of life in the early 1900s as people attempted to find a place here in Canada. Some of the things that it made real to me were:

  • the challenge of adapting to a new life while still trying to cling to your old one
  • the amazing struggles it took for a family to make it to their new land
  • the idea of living in a sod house instead of a wooden one
  • the terror of illness in a time and place that weren’t very friendly to people
  • the way others classify people – especially when referring to the First Nations and Metis peoples
  • the realization that a single act could destroy everything you’d planned and prepped for – such as a fire or a hill that is too steep for your wagon.
  • the rigours of settling life in the prairies.

Before long, you become invested in this little family and their friends on their journey. You root for the success despite all the challenges they face along the way. I swear it is just one big moment after another, keeping you reading and anxiously hoping they make it all in one piece.

I was intrigued to learn that the characters in this story were actually based on real people and real adventures of heading to the west. I have no idea if the author intends to continue Dorothy’s tale, but I would love to know how the family does as they get settled into their new land and life.

 

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