TRILLIUM – Reviewed by A.Brindle – via The Bay Observer
- Book: Trillium
- Location: Beamsville, Grimsby (Ontario), Hamilton, Niagara Falls, Ontario, St Catharines
- Author: Margaret Lindsay Holton
Award-winning local author and artist, Margaret Lindsay Holton, has done it again with her third novel, ‘Trillium’. A fast-paced historical saga set in the Golden Horseshoe region of southern Ontario, this story follows the evolution of three families over 250 years. It was a book I could not put down.
The novel starts with the British conquest over the French at the Niagara River in the 1750s and the development of pioneer settlements by the ‘land-grant’ British soldiers throughout the Niagara region. It moves rapidly into the next century as land-poor Italians and famine-driven Irish immigrate into southern Ontario.
Three single enterprising male characters, the “seeds”, start their lineage in Canada. Each man represents their inherited culture and perceptual bias. The novel blossoms generations later, in 1965, as their Canadian descendants intermingle at a summer bonfire bash on Lake Ontario.
Strong characters represent each generation: some likable, some less so. Through long-standing feuds and the forging of strong relationships, the three families learn to survive on the land.
The women in this saga are particularly inspiring. They are an essential counterpoint to the passions of the men. Within the framework of their families, wives, mothers and daughters have their own intimate stories to tell.
Equal parts historical fact and invented social romp, this character-driven novel grips you from the get-go. The players all have their own ties to the land that eventually, through their hard work, sweat and swindling, becomes the Niagara wine-making district that we know today.
Cultures and personalities frequently clash. Love is lost and found. Feuds simmer and erupt. But, above all, it is the promise of rich fertile soil that pulls the characters forward.
MLHolton convincingly immerses the reader in a rural landscape we recognize but did not fully know. We emerge with a broader appreciation of the importance and enduring value of roots, past and present. – 5-star. Highly recommend.