by Cameron Alam
Upper Canada, 1804, on the edge of Chippewa territory. Flora MacCallum wakes from a malarial coma and witnesses the staggering loss her siblings have endured during their first days on the mosquito-infested banks of the Chenail Écarté. Lured from the Isle of Mull by Lord Selkirk’s promise of fertile grazing land and freedom far from the Highland clearances, Flora’s father staked his life to bring his family across the Atlantic. During the struggling frontier settlement’s first bleak North American winter, Flora discovers hope through an unlikely friendship. The oldest son of a Chippewa chief offers Flora the gift of his mother tongue, shifting Flora’s relationship with the land and the truth of her own spirit. But as their furtive fellowship attracts attention, conflicts soon arise…
Alam’s vibrant prose and impeccable research breathe life into this little-known aspect of Canadian history.
– Janet Somerville, special to Toronto Star
This debut novel bodes well for Ms. Alam. Her writing is well-paced, imaginative and full of wonderfully crafted passages from beginning to end.
– James M. Fisher The Miramichi Reader
Deep and dramatic, this engrossing family story will haunt readers.
– Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Anangokaa deserves to be on the bookshelf of every reader who is a fan of historical fiction. Based on the MacCallum orphans in Canada during 1804, Cameron Alam spins an exceptional and haunting story about loss, the determination to survive, and the quest for something better. Told by fourteen-year-old Flora MacCallum, Anangokaa is a brilliant portrait of two cultures – Chippewa and Scottish Highland – and the similarities that bind them. Anangokaa is an outstanding achievement.
– Ann Weisgarber, author of The Glovemaker
Anangokaa embeds the experiences of Upper Canada’s early Scottish immigrants in the story of an enigmatic girl who comes of age in a foreign wilderness.
– Michele Sharpe, Foreword Reviews
Anangokaa is a beautiful and thought-provoking coming-of-age story, with the spirit and will to survive, love, and friendship, and outstanding characters.
– Readers’ Favorites
Cameron Alam’s fictionalized account of a young Scottish girl’s first winter in Upper Canada melds the new world with the old in a true-to-life tale of the perils facing white settlers some 200 years ago. Historically accurate and rich in detail, Anangokaa not only tells the story of the hardships faced by the people of Lord Selkirk’s Baldoon Settlement, but more importantly, the book honours the Anishinaabe culture and the people of Turtle Island. Anangokaa also marks Flora’s journey from child to woman, outlining her sustaining, but taboo friendship with a Chippewa youth who shares with her the gift of his native tongue. We see how Flora’s fierce independence and brave heart guides her path through her first love, while navigating the tight social constraints of the times. Anangokaa is a must read for those familiar with the Baldoon Settlement, those who want to learn more about Ontario’s indigenous people and for everyone who cares about matters of the heart.
– Pam Wright, Journalist/Editor, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter/Chatham Voice, former reporter/editor with The Chatham Daily News, Sarnia Observer and Wallaceburg News
Flora’s coming-of-age is a gold mine of splendidly researched information about the hardships presented by a feral land, and native tribal customs and culture—a must-read for everyone interested in Canadian Indigenous history.
– Fiona Alison , Historical Novel Society