Winter Reads for Long, Freezing Cold Nights Ahead

In Danceland Diary, Luka Dekker and her sister Connie are the inheritors of a secretive and disturbing family history going back three generations to the disappearance of their great-grandfather. Their troubledmother, Lark, also mysteriously disappeared; and their beloved grandmother, who raised thetwo girls, had a life haunted by a traumatic event that is only revealed after her death. The story unfolds against a backdrop of the drug-fueled Downtown Eastside of Vancouver and the horrific pig farm murders, the seductive beauty of rural Saskatchewan, and the glittering lights of a famous prairie dance hall. Luka's quest for her mother, and for peace and love, is a disquieting, moving, and thoroughly engaging examination of intergenerational trauma and forgiveness.

dee Hobsbawn-Smith's award-winning poetry, essays, and short fiction has appeared in publications in Canada, the USA, Scotland and elsewhere. She earned her MFA in Writing and her MA in English Lit at the University of Saskatchewan. Her debut poetry collection, Wildness Rushing In, published in 2014, was a finalist for Book of the Year and Best Poetry Collection at the Saskatchewan Book Awards. What Can't Be Undone: Stories was published in 2015. She's a local foods advocate, active in Slow Food for more than twenty years, and has written a stack of books about food, including the award-winning Foodshed: An Edible Alberta Alphabet. She served as the 35th Writer in Residence at Saskatoon Public Library in 2015. Bread & Water: Essays, published in 2021, won the Saskatchewan Book Awards’ nonfiction prize. A new poetry collection, Among the Untamed, is forthcoming next spring. dee lives on the remnants of her family’s farm west of Saskatoon.

In Murder at San Miguel, archaeological illustrator, Beatrix Forster, accompanies her husband to excavate the cemetery at San Miguel in Excelsis, an isolated medieval sanctuary in the mountains of northern Spain. Bill’s former student, now a priest in Navarre, has enticed them out of comfortable retirement with the rumor that the infamous medieval knight and founder of the sanctuary, Teodosio de Goñi, may be buried at the church. Despite initial misgivings about working in Spain under the shadow of Franco’s dictatorship, they accept the project and travel to Navarre with students from the University of Toronto. Personalities clash as the students grow weary of the remote location, but when one of the students is brutally murdered, accusations begin to surface. Beatrix and Bill fear that the local Civil Guard, much hated by the populace, has bungled the investigation and they take it upon themselves to determine the identity of the killer. They soon find that everyone at San Miguel has something to hide.

Danee Wilson grew up on the prairies in Regina, Saskatchewan. She completed a BA Hons in Spanish at the University of Calgary before moving to Spain to teach English. Inspired by the unidentified remains entombed in El Valle de los Caídos (The Valley of the Fallen), and hoping to work in the recovery and identification of victims of the Spanish Civil War, Danee returned to Canada to study archaeology at the University of Saskatchewan, where she received a BA Hons and an MA. During her studies, she travelled to Spain each summer to volunteer in the search for victims of Franco’s regime. In 2016, Danee began work as Assistant Director of a small archaeology company in the Basque Country, and spent three field seasons excavating the medieval cemetery at San Miguel de Aralar in Navarre. After more than three years abroad, Danee once again returned home to Canada, completing a post-graduate diploma in public relations and communications management from McGill University. She currently resides in Toronto.