Outcasts of River Falls
When her father dies, Kathryn Tourond must leave Our Lady of Mercy Academy in Toronto to go live in Alberta with an aunt she’s never met. Having grown up in a wealthy family and attending the best schools, Kathryn is horrified to learn that her father’s sister is one of the Metis, a people of mixed First Nation and European heritage. What’s worse, Aunt Belle lives in little more than a shack outside of the town and expects Kathryn to do chores. Because Kathryn is proud, she completes the tasks her aunt asks of her, all the while planning her escape back to Toronto where she plans to study law and live a respectable life. However, as she learns more about the Metis people, Kathryn comes to understand their plight as a minority population without any legal rights in Canada. And when Aunt Belle is arrested for a crime she didn’t commit, Kathryn is ready to take on her first legal case.
This is an interesting story about Canada’s treatment of the Metis population following the North West Rebellion in 1885. The author has done her homework regarding the tribe’s legal status at the time, and her details of daily life in the Metis community are impressive. However, the writing style of this novel is disappointing. The author frequently overwrites the narrative by telling the reader things she should be able to infer from the dialogue. Also, Kathryn’s character is rather two-dimensional; so much of what she does and says is predictable. This is a story with potential, but it needs better editing to help make that happen.