Last year, Corinne Jeffery launched the historical fiction trilogy Understanding Ursula with Arriving: 1909 - 1919. The author is now celebrating the launch of the second book in the series, Thriving: 1920 - 1939, with a book tour that includes a visit to Coles in Yorkton on October 23.
Jeffery describes the series as a labor of love which she dedicates to her grandparents. It’s the story of a Lutheran-German family that flees Russia and settles near Melville.
The new book will see a greater focus on the main family from the book, the Werners, Jeffery says.
“You get to know them better, they start having their own children so you get to know them. New characters are constantly being introduced and there is even more intrigue and secrets being introduced in the second book,” she revealed in a recent interview with The News Review.
The book has been out for only a month, but Jeffery says that the response from readers has been highly positive, she says, and she says that readers have been contacting her to talk about how much they’ve enjoyed the latest volume. She says that some of the most enjoyable comments have been from people who have identified with the characters and their struggles, and found their own families represented by the fictitious Werners.
“I wanted to write a story about us, you and I, the real Canadians. Not the famous and the politicians and the Conrad Blacks, but those of us who are the majority of the populace of this wonderful country.”
One of her goals with the series was to tell an immigrant story, and that from conversations with readers she has found that the immigrant experience is still consistent, even at the turn of this century. She notes that a woman from China once told her that her experiences as an immigrant in this century were very similar to that chronicled in the book.
The Understanding Ursula series is also tightly connected to this area, with the book taking place locally. She says she believes Saskatchewan is under-used as a setting for fiction, and hopes to see more authors embrace the area and use it to tell intriguing stories. She says that there needs to be more stories about regular Canadians, and that she wanted her trilogy to help fill that gap.
“I had two basic beliefs when I was writing my trilogy. One, that Canadians were as intriguing and as interesting as every nation of people, but you can’t find books about us. The second thing is that I believe that everything that happens now, happened then, they just didn’t want to talk about it. They kept secrets, so now I have readers telling me they love having a front row seat because they know all the secrets.”
The final entry in the series will be released in October of next year, and Jeffery says she is busy at work on a new book, as well as touring, meeting readers and trying to reach as many people as she can. Jeffery will be at Coles on October 23 to sign books and meet readers.