CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Atherton, Francis X.

Markham (Ont.), Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1987. 252pp, cloth, $21.95. ISBN 0-88902-916-4. CIP

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by Robert Nicholas Berard

Volume 16 Number 6
1988 November

Within each of us, it is often said, lies a novel waiting to be written. Fortunately for the reading public, most of these novels are never written and most of those that are written are never published. Somehow, this one surfaced.

The novel, based on extensive research in family and public papers, follows the lives of Alice Heffernon, a young girl in service to the Duke of Norfolk, and the man she would marry in 1893. Joseph J. Atherton, actor, printer and journalistic entrepreneur. The family emigrated to Canada in 1903 in pursuit of Atherton's dream of owning his own newspaper. In this country the search led them to Creston, B.C., where Atherton founded the Creston Revtew.

The story is a fairly typical immigrant novel, recording hopes and disappointments, fortunes made and lost, the coldness of the land, and the warmth of the people the Athertons encountered. Unfortunately, no one in the novel is very interesting—certainly no more interesting than any of our parents or grandparents—and the author's attempts to make them seem so are generally (and perhaps fittingly) amateurish. The book might serve well as moderately uplifting cottage reading, but no more.

Robert Nicholas Berard, Dalhousie University, Halifax, N.S.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works