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Gold Rush Orphan and Jeannie and the Gentle Giants Review by Heidi Shaw

Ronsdale Press

Ronsdale Press is a great little publishing house doing the best it can to promote and encourage Canadian authors. I know from experience that it is difficult to find literature expressly written in Canadian locales, and I was thrilled to find these two novels from Ronsdale satisfying and entertaining as well.

Gold Rush Orphan tells an awesome story of the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush. Written by Sandy F. Duncan, who uses her grandfather's actual journal entries to flesh out the story, Gold Rush Orphan is exciting and authentic. Stories of the Klondike and places like Skagway, Alaska, mean more to me since my family has been working and living in Alaska, and the kids love hearing the stories of the folks who actually forged the community. Gold Rush Orphan is a great story any way you look at it as you follow the life of young Jeremy Britain and grow, ache, and dream with him. Jeremy is coming to maturity at a time when a nation was coming to maturity, and we live through the adolescence of both man and country. Lots of fun, and a good dose of history as well!

I love all the books I have seen from Ronsdale, and they are well worth seeking out, whether you are in the States or up here in Canada as I am. The writers know how to present a good story and catch you up to make you feel that you are truly there.

Jeannie and the Gentle Giants is a trembler, as you fall in love with young Jeannie who has lost her mother to an unknown but all too familiar illness. Jeannie grows up in Kelowna, British Columbia, and is fostered to a kind family in the outskirts who sense her need for peace and healing. Both my 6-year-old and I were entranced by this beautiful telling of a young girl's turmoil and wanted to keep reading, far after bedtime! Jeannie finds joy and a kind of peace working with the big gentle 'giants'--Clydesdales--that her new friends log with in the woods of British Columbia. The descriptions of Jeannie's confusion and the feel of the forest bring a lot of sensory details to the reader! It is very well written and, again, great fun to be reading about quiet little locales and places I recognize.

Check out Ronsdale Press, and rest assured that anything you pick up from them should be well worth the read! Another bonus is the work they are doing to ensure that their products don't damage the environment--they are trying to have all their books printed from recycled or post-consumer products! Great idea!

Product review by Heidi Shaw, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2006