Grey County Reads

Five Canadian-authored books chosen for Grey County Reads

Head to the library, take a trip to the bookstore or put these titles on your Christmas wish list. The next Grey County Reads books have been announced. Here is a brief synopsis of each.



Starlight by Richard Wagamese

Starlight is the final novel from Richard Wagamese, the bestselling author of Indian Horse and Medicine Walk. Penguin Random House Canada describes the book as a profoundly moving novel about the redemptive power of love, mercy and compassion – and the land's ability to heal us. It centres on an abused woman on the run who finds refuge on a farm owned by an indigenous man with wounds of his own.

The book was published posthumously. Starlight was unfinished at the time of Wagamese's death in March, 2017 but the Note on the Text that appears at the end of the book summarizes ideas he shared with close friends about his novel-in-progress and includes a scene that Wagamese intended to adapt for the final scene of this story.



Bellevue Square by Michael Redhill

Winner of the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize, Bellevue Square is a darkly comic literary thriller about a woman who fears for her sanity and her life, when she learns that her doppelganger has appeared in a local park. The park is called Bellevue Square and this is where Jean Mason's obsession with finding her lookalike begins. Enlisting the help of various drug addicts, scam artists, philanthropists, philosophers and vagrants, her investigation unturns something sinister when some of them start to disappear.

Set at the crossroads of Kensington Market in Toronto, the story will have you on the edge of your seat when Jean attempts to stop these sinister events. She and everyone she cares about, face down a fate stranger than death.


Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

Waubeshig Rice provides this account of Moon of the Crusted Snow, a post-apocalyptic thriller that takes place in an isolated First Nation in northern Ontario.

With winter looming, a small Anishinaabe community loses communication and goes dark. Cut off from the urban realm of the south, many of its people become passive and confused. They eventually descend into panic as the food supply dwindles, with few hunters left in the First Nation. While the band council and a pocket of community members struggle to maintain order, an unexpected visitor arrives from a city to the south to escape a crumbling society. Soon aftrer, others follow and the community leadership is faced with the dilemma of allowing the urban refugees to live with them on their territory. Tensions rise, and as the months pass, so does the death toll due to sickness and despair.

Frustrated by the building chaos, a group of young friends and their families turn to the land and tradition in hopes of helping their community thrive again, while they grapple with a grave decision.



Steal Away Home by Karolyn Smardz-Frost

Steal Away Home is one woman's epic flight to freedom and her long road back to the south. In this compelling work of narrative non-fiction, Governor General’s Award winner Karolyn Smardz Frost captures Cecelia’s epic story of courage. She was a teenager when she made her dangerous bid for freedom. Escape meant that she would never see her mother or brother again. She would be cut off from Fanny, the young mistress with whom she grew up, but who also owned her. This was a time when people could be property, and when a beloved father could be separated from his wife and children, to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Smardz Frost’s impeccable research and vivid description takes the reader through the Civil War, the shameful backdrop of slavery and the very real and stirring tale of one woman’s struggle for freedom and her return to her former home on her own terms, despite the risk involved.


The Evening Chorus by Helen Humphreys

The Evening Chorus is a brilliant new novel about love, war, and the ways of escape.

Resigned to living out the Second World War in a German POW camp, James Hunter, an English officer, begins studying a pair of redstarts near the camp. His interest in the birds captures the attention of the Kommandant and gives James cause to fear for his life. Meanwhile, back in England, James's young wife, Rose, falls headlong into a passionate affair with another man. When James's sister, Enid, is bombed out of her London flat, she comes to stay with Rose, and the two women form a surprising friendship that alters the course of both of their lives.

With wonderfully developed characters, exquisitely shaped by and reflected in the natural world, The Evening Chorus is a beautiful evocation of place and a natural history of both the war and the human heart.

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