The boathouse community along the shores of Dundas Marsh has come under siege and young Egypt Fisher is faced with the prospect of losing her home. Members of Hamilton’s City Beautiful Movement have planned a new bridge through their neighbourhood and the boathouses are being destroyed, their owners relocated. Soon, however, it’s clear that politicians and gentrification aren’t the only threats to Egypt’s paradise. At first Egypt is thrilled to have her family reunited when her father, Ray, suddenly returns after a mysterious six-year absence. But Ray Fisher has demons, and his wife, Laura, has secrets. Together, they turn the Fisher house into an emotional tinderbox, and when handsome Matt Oakes drifts into town, he could be just the spark to ignite it.
When a mysterious schooner appears at the wharf of a tiny Nova Scotia fishing village, tongues start wagging. Who is the beautiful woman who dresses like a man and claims to be the captain’s daughter? How was the ship damaged, and why is its cargo hold empty?
Suffocating in a marriage of convenience and tormented by memories of nursing Halifax Explosion victims, Hetty Douglas falls under the spell of the exotic sailor-woman Esmeralda. So does Noble Matheson, a quiet mechanic who blames himself for his brother’s death at Vimy.
After Hetty performs an emergency amputation in the ship’s cabin, it becomes clear that the ship is no ordinary sailing vessel. A compelling story of 20th-century piracy, Rachael Preston’s vibrant novel explores the complex relationship between two vulnerable people and Esmeralda, the free-spirited “wind seller” who captivates them both.
In Tent of Blue, Rachael Preston alternates between the dying days of English music hall and Vancouver in 1952 to tell the stories of Yvonne, a former English music hall dancer, and her son Anton, a lonely fifteen-year old with a club foot.
Both are imprisoned, Yvonne by emotional ties to her abusive mother and, later, a brutal impresario, and Anton by his disability and his mother’s misery. Tent of Blue is a story of captivity and escape, of discovering the freedom to fight back against the world and seize freedom.