Gwen Whitford is also an alumna of Queen’s University in Kingston, although she graduated a number of years after Dennis and I attended. But we met up again through the Queen’s Alumni Review and I told that story in this blog post from Feb. 2012 in which Gwen reviewed Island in the Clouds. We also share with Gwen a long-term residency in the Caribbean. When Gwen told me about this recent publication of a novel set on her island of Dominica, I asked if she would tell us about it!
Book title and author: A Face in the River by Kristine Simelda
What genre is it? Tropical Fiction
Quick description: A divorced American businesswoman named Krystal Sutherland leaves her first world comforts in order to follow her heart by relocating to a beautiful, lush Caribbean island. She quickly discovers that life in paradise presents challenges that she could have never previously imagined. Within a stunning setting, the protagonist endures and overcomes unanticipated adversities as the love for her adopted country and its people is repeatedly tested in countless ways.
Why I recommend this book: I really enjoyed the fast-paced dialog, vivid narrative and gorgeous setting of this novel, which captured my attention from the first page to its dramatic conclusion. I was riveted to the constant twists and turns of the plot, and was spellbound by the recurrent ‘black magic’ motif. As an expatriate living on a Caribbean island, I could easily identify with many of the dilemmas of a ‘single female’ new-comer. However, I think readers of both sexes will be highly entertained and engaged by the personal challenges and successes of the protagonist in an unfamiliar land and culture.
Gwen attended a recent launch of Kristine’s book and wrote about that event here on her blog.
Guest reviewer’s latest title or project: Ti Domnik Tales blog, 2012 – I am a Canadian expatriate who relocated to Dominica, also known as ‘The Nature Island’, about 18 years ago. I desired to experience an improved quality of life and better health in a country with little pollution and lots of fresh air. For more details about my motivations for moving here, please consult my other blog, named Canary Gal.
I have continued to pursue a number of longtime hobbies here with tremendous delight. My main preoccupation for over 20 years has been researching, writing and publishing on certain topics, which include environmental health, wellness, outdoor recreation and travel. For more than a decade, I have been able to chronicle a considerable amount of information about various aspects of Dominica. There have been numerous opportunities to travel all over the island and spend time in various areas – from north to south, east to west and everywhere in between. I’ve also met and spent time with some very interesting personalities.
Many of my adventures from 2003 to 2011 were recorded annually in a pocket guide that I co-created and wrote in its entirety. It contains all kinds of activities and notes of interest about the Nature Island and is called Dominica 100+ Things to Do. This comprehensive booklet is still being published (under different authorship). I’ve also contributed feature articles to Domnitjen, a locally produced magazine and to a presently non-active website that supported SHAPE (Society for Heritage, Architecture, Preservation and Enhancement) in Roseau. As a Director on the Board of the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association in 2008-9, I prepared a newsletter called DHTA Communique for distribution to the membership. In December 2010, I assumed the position of Editor of Tourism Update, which is a quarterly publication of the Discover Dominica Authority. As well, I became a certified guide as per this tourism body’s regulations for the period 2010 -2012. I appreciate having the training and background in this area, which directly relates to my enhanced knowledge about the Nature Island.
Perhaps the most rewarding part of my literary endeavors in Dominica has been the opportunity to teach a challenging English Literature course to a few secondary school students at the privately run Orion Academy. I taught some amazingly brilliant high school seniors who have since gone on to pursue post-secondary degrees in a variety of fields. As well as the privilege of instructing them in literary arts, I was able to apply some of the theory to my personal writing practice!