October 29, 2020
By: Emilie Lapointe
There has never been a better time to let your introvert flag fly and curl up indoors with a good book. Through the literary arts, readers can be transported halfway across the world, into fictional worlds or into eras we can only catch glimpses of through written history and recollection.
A surprising amount of authors, both award-winning and up-and-coming, have tucked away in their writing corners hunched over desks and put pen to paper in our charming town.
Take a look at the list below of novels written by authors from Oakville. Hopefully this offers you some inspiration for your next literary adventure!
Rag Dolls & Rage by Sheila E. Tucker
Tucker (originally from England) is an author, poet and painter living in Oakville. She is the founder of Poetry&Prose, a local collective group for literary enthusiasts that hosts open mic nights. Her memoir, Rag Dolls & Rage, chronicles the story of her idyllic English seaside childhood turned nightmarish, and the emotional ramifications after childhood trauma. Her story takes you through the journey from brokenness towards forgiveness and acceptance. Tucker’s memoir can be purchased online at Indigo as an e-book and on Amazon for Kindle or as a paperback.
My Best Friend is a Secret Agent by Richard Clark
This book is written by Richard Clark and illustrated by Rich Murray, both of whom call Oakville home. The story of this children’s book is a fun one: Originally only available as a free e-book, the title spent two years in the top ten iBooks and Amazon kids’ book charts. After many attempts to get the book traditionally published, Clark conceded that it would only ever be a free e-book. In a twist of fate, Heather Reisman, the owner of Indigo, read and loved the children’s book and wanted to publish it. The book follows the story of a kid computer genius and his best friend, a guinea pig. They band together when their town is attacked by Freaky Fuzzy toys after the protagonist implants his furry best friend with a microchip that turns him into a secret agent. It can be purchased through Indigo either as an e-book or paperback.
Rachel’s Secret, Rachel’s Promise and Rachel’s Hope by Shelly Sanders
This is a historical trilogy by local author Shelly Sanders. These books, targeted at teens and young adults, tell the story of Tucker’s Russian Jewish grandmother’s flee from the persecution of Jewish people in her country, an exodus to Shanghai for refuge and eventual immigration to Canada. Her grandmother became the first Jewish woman accepted into the science program at UC Berkeley. Sanders is a journalist who has written for many major national publications such as Maclean’s, National Post and Reader’s Digest among others. These novels can be purchased online at both Indigo and Amazon.
The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
Jenner is a longtime Jane Austen fan and former owner of quaint local bookstore Archetype Books. The novel is set in post-WWII in Chawton, a small English village and Austen’s final home. A motley crew of book lovers, each from varying socio-economic backgrounds, come together to preserve Austen’s legacy in the wake of personal and global post-war tragedy. While each of these individuals’ stories are very different, they become intertwined as they form The Jane Austen Society with the mission to save Austen’s cottage and legacy. Interestingly, this novel was published in May 2020 in the early stages of COVID-19 lockdown and was truly a labour of love from its author. Follow the Goodreads link for a list of places to purchase this book.
Jalna by Mazo de la Roche
A true slice of Oakville history, Jalna is a 16-book series of novels with the first being published in 1927. Each book can be read as an independent story and tells the tale of the Whiteoak family over the course of a century. These books will transport you to 19th century and early 20th century Canada through the eyes of several generations of the fictional family loosely based on the author’s own familial struggles. The series has sold more than 11 million copies and was successfully adapted into a CBC television series. Check out Goodreads for a list of each book from the family saga and click each book for a list of where each can be purchased. You can also explore Mazo de la Roche’s former home in Bronte Village, Sovereign House.
Various titles from Dr. David Posen
While perusing the self-help shelves, you have likely run across the covers of titles written by Dr. David Posen, who started his family practice in Oakville in 1971. By 1985, Dr. Posen gave up his practice to focus on stress management and has become a keynote speaker and author. Titles like The Little Book of Stress Relief, Always Change a Losing Game: Winning Strategies for Work, Home and Health and Authenticity: A Guide to Living in Harmony with Your True Self will guide readers through some of life’s greatest stressors and teach readers how to manage difficult situations. Books like these are transformative reads that can help people manage work-life balance as they transition to working from home. Click here for a comprehensive list of Dr. Posen’s works on Indigo and links for purchase.
Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown
Brown is the bestselling author of emotionally compelling novels such as Come Away with Me and The Life Lucy Knew. Her newest novel, however, does not require a tissue box on hand. Recipe for a Perfect Wife tells the story of a modern wife who loses her job and moves to a fixer-upper home with her husband where she discovers the creased and aged cookbooks of the previous homeowner from 60 years prior. Brown’s protagonist becomes entranced by the 1950s domestic culture captured in those books and begins to don retro dresses while trying to replicate recipes for dated meals. Penned in between the recipes for Baked Alaska and meatloaf, Brown’s protagonist uncovers some unsettling secrets about the mysterious previous owner. As a collector of old recipes herself, Brown begins each chapter with a recipe from her own box. Brown’s book can be purchased on Amazon or through Indigo.
Make sure to check out the Oakville Public Library’s website to see if they have any of these titles in stock. All of the library’s branches are open for adjusted service and are offering in-branch browsing, self-checkout and online holds for contactless pick-up!