Providence: The McBride Chronicles - Book One
By: Valerie Green
ISBN: 978-0-88839-739-3 [Trade Paperback]
ISBN: 978-0-88839-740-9 [eBook color]
Binding: Trade Paper
Size: 5.5" X 8.5"
Publication Date: 10 December 2022
Providence, the first in the McBride Chronicles series, describes the sweeping story of two parallel lives – Jane Hopkins, an orphaned young girl from England and Gideon McBride, the son of a poor fisherman from Scotland - who separately travel to the New World in search of a better life. Their individual stories contain hardship, adventure, intrigue, deception and lies but, above all, a great love as they each find their way to survive in an unforgiving world – Jane through music and a desperate need for the foundations of a happy family life, and Gideon through a desire to escape from a lifestyle he was expected to embrace.
The beginning of the McBride family dynasty starts in Victoria, British Columbia’s capital city, and is set against a backdrop of the Province’s vivid history – from the days of the first gold rush along the mighty Fraser River, the incorporation of Victoria as a city, and a smallpox epidemic that decimated the Indigenous population - to B.C. joining confederation in 1871. This book describes the moral as well as the corrupt days of early colonization.
Providence tells a mighty story depicting the strength and determination of early settlers.
Valerie Green was born in England and studied journalism, English literature and history at the Regent Institute of Journalism in London. Before immigrating to Canada in 1968, Valerie's employment included a short stint at the War Office for MI5, as well as legal secretarial work and freelance writing. Her writing career is extensive and includes writing a weekly history column for the Saanich News for nineteen years, a monthly column for the Seaside Times in Sidney, BC, numerous articles for the Victoria Times Colonist, as well as authoring and editing over 20 books on local and regional history, mysteries and social issues.
Now semi-retired, Valerie continues to freelance for a number of newspapers and magazines. In addition, she has served on the board of the Saanich Arts, Culture & Heritage Committee, the Saanich Heritage Foundation and volunteered with the Luther Court Society. She is a member of the Professional Writers of Canada (PWAC), the Federation of BC Writers, the Writers' Union of Canada, and the Hallmark Society of Victoria. She lives with her husband in Saanich and is the proud grandmother of two young boys.
Visit her website at www.valeriegreenauthor.com
“Valerie Green made her name writing wonderfully engaging nonfiction stories about Victoria and environs, sharing tales told by built heritage (Dunmora: The Story of a Heritage Manor House on Vancouver Island; If These Walls Could Talk: Victoria’s Houses from the Past, I and II), and class in settler culture (Above Stairs: Social Life in Upper-Class Victoria, 1843–1918), as well as most evocative memoir (Embrace the Journey: A Care Giver’s Story). Green has now turned her capacious storytelling skills to fiction with Providence, the first volume of The McBride Chronicles (we can anticipate two more, according to Green). Providence kicks off its dynastic-tale-to-be with the backstories, in alternating chapters, of its main characters: the British orphan (Jane) and the son of a Scottish fisher family (Gideon). The pair traverse the worlds of life in service (Jane) and life at sea and in business (Gideon), enduring travails and enjoying adventures en route to meeting in Victoria BC, falling in love, and creating a family in the 1860s. Their trials and triumphs together continue and, as BC joins Canada’s Confederation in 1871, fallout from a tragedy threatens to undo them and all they’ve created together. Truth helps them endure, create something bigger than themselves, and add another storied layer to the McBride tale, doubtless to be unveiled as the saga continues in Volume II. Fans of Green’s detailed non-fiction will find similar strengths in this story, offering vivid particulars of life in a particular time and place (Victorian-era Victoria) that allow readers to readily imagine and inhabit the world of Providence. While there is some resolution of events at the end of Book One, enough seeds are sown to create anticipation for the tale’s continuation… in Book Two! Green knows well how to leave readers wanting more."
— Moira Dunn, author of Craigdarroch Castle in 21 Treasures.
“Historian Valerie Green’s debut novel, Providence, is the first of a family saga series. The engaging story is told from the perspective of two protagonists, settlers who make the arduous journey to North America in search of better lives than the ones they left behind. Vividly created characters, they both emerge from impoverished backgrounds, but their different motivations take them on separate paths to a shared destiny. Part One, the first half of the novel, portrays the perilous experiences that compel them to leave mid-19th-century Britain. Green has given a distinct voice to the many settlers escaping poverty in their homeland, most of whom left behind few firsthand accounts. With their troubled backgrounds, the central characters are sympathetic to the plight of others, including Indigenous Peoples. On their journey they gather a diverse supporting cast, including a San Francisco brothel madam from Paris with a soft heart under her heavily painted exterior, and a Black American crew member who becomes one of McBride’s closest friends. I particularly appreciate the author’s faithfulness to historical details, which gives the novel an authentic grounding. Providence is a far-reaching story that captures the spirit of hope and desperation propelling settlers to the edge of the British Empire."
— Vanessa Winn, author of Trappings and The Chief Factor's Daughter.
“I instantly liked Green’s character of Jane. I particularly enjoyed her curiosity and the fact that you can feel her liveliness. Jane had my empathy from the get-go. I also really liked the hooks at the end of each section or chapter. They are well done and always made me want to keep reading.” "
— Judi Lees, author of "Lester's Gifts".
“This book could well become a televised series! I feel it would easily lend itself well to that."
— Theresa Laviolette, freelance editor.