YesterCanada – Historical Tales of Mystery and Adventure
Review by Slavomir Almajan
It deserves five-star rating indeed! It is also a must-read book for readers of any age, any gender, any culture…
Elma Schemenauer invaded my searching heart with a new level of curiosity, way beyond “let’s see what else is new” realm. She captured my full attention with Consider the Sunflowers, a captivating novel, deeply entrenched in Canada’s prairie culture with all the harmonies and disharmonies of life in a real world.
YesterCanada comes, at least for me, as a surprise that shattered all my reservations regarding short fictionalized history stories. Sometimes this kind of stories come as a cover up for poorly researched facts. YesterCanada is a real deal! It is not a mere attempt to fill the pages with nicely crafted words, although there is a lot of that in this book, but rather a heart’s response to so many old stories and legends of this land.
It is a master’s touch throughout every story and legend that brings to life the characters and the things that you never thought could breathe again. But they did and they did it with the author’s life.
Tom Sukanan is one of the most beautiful and complex characters in the book and the circumstances surrounding his life and shaping his destiny were, to say the least, not less complex. The restlessness he carried within drove him toward unleashing the best of him to the service of others. “It wasn’t that he didn’t care about other people. When new homesteaders arrived in the area, Tom offered to lend them a hand in building their houses. He also turned his inventive and mechanical abilities to projects that benefitted the whole community. It was Tom Sukanan who built the area’s first grain-threshing machine. It was also Tom who constructed a homemade sewing machine so that the women of the district wouldn’t need to do all their mending by hand.” The homesickness that hit him later on morphed into one of the most intense dramas that could hit the human soul. The creator became almost one with his creation. They both became an unsung song, victims of aging without legacy, of dying with unfulfilled dreams.
The British Columbia Ship That Wouldn’t Die is a symbol, a Thing that survived its creator, carrying his restlessness that built it across the oceans…
Lillian Alling was more than a mere mortal woman. She was a heroine, a pursuer of her dream. Nothing could stand against it. Somehow a part of New York City and every place that her feeble feet touched became better and more alive. The obstacles sometimes would be simple acts of kindness or even apparent hostile actions driven by pure intentions. Wow! I dare you to read this story without falling in love with its main character!
By the author’s touch even the dead come to life, not necessarily through living but through animating the bored world by a mysterious and almost unbelievable story. Yes, I said to myself, love survives the mortal being and frees enough territory to accommodate an absolutely beautiful story.
Elma Schemenauer grew to know intimately the world around her and made it more beautiful through her outstanding way of being restless for the sake of carrying the light of Christ through what He made her to be.
Thank you, Elma, for your beautiful work!
YesterCanada is a 248-page paperback including 30 illustrations and a bibliography, $19.95. Ask for it in a store or library. Or order online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo, or Borealis Press. E-book coming later.