Book Title: The Swan Bonnet
Author: Katherine L. Holmes
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Swans are endangered in 1920s Alaska. Unbeknown to Dawn, her grandfather has shot an old swan out of mercy. In their coastal Alaskan town, her father buys the swan pelt, preventing her Uncle Alex, a fur trader, from selling it for export. Dawn’s father surprises her part-Aleut mother with a hat she helped to make and also with an idea to catch poachers. Dawn and her mother become involved with the suspicious effects of the swan bonnet besides its haunting effect. But after they encounter women from a ship and find out about a hunting party, they ride to the inlet. There are townspeople roving the shore too but who is the vigilante and who is the poacher?
The swan flew up into the air. Feeling sympathy, Frances began walking back along the shore, looking for her father. She thought of Paul and his last letter, back in the spring. It sounded as though he was well enough, finding employment at a mining company in California. All he wrote about was the mine and how he’d promised them a year, being useful with his carpentry skills. He’d become friends with the owner’s son and they hoped to build a small town around the mine. But he hadn’t written to her about traveling to California. It wasn’t like the swans. There was only an old promise that he’d come back to her.
She heard a rustle in the leaves. Alex, empty-handed.
“Missed the fox," he said.
“Oh, you’re just fooling. To say the swan led you to one.”
“Well, the trap got me a snowshoe hare. Up in Nome, some few White Russians have come over, haunted like that swan. Like those promises made too many miles over water. They used to be rich before the revolution in Russia. Now all the aristocrats might have is a piece of jewelry.”
He peered at her, his mustache hiding his suspicions. Like most people, they refrained from telling much about their pasts. But Alex gave Frances a sensation of zest. He was as foreboding as the land, blending into the boats and the mountainside like any other man and then in company, puzzling a person with the flickerings of a wonderful hope. He had spent many a night watching the twilight rainbow in the sky. Her father made sure she didn’t spend an evening alone with him.
“Is there still gold up in Nome?”
“There’s gold! Fur and miles of sledding. I wonder where there’s more gold, here or California?”
Frances couldn’t say and then they heard the crack of a gun. They walked back to the horses and soon enough, her father was standing before them, ceremoniously displaying a fox he had shot. “Got a mink from one of the traps, too. Saw the fox tail first, like a pheasant.”
“I flushed it out,” Alex said.
“You’d like pheasant hunting, Alex. Well, my wife is talking me into going back to Manitoba.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katherine L. Holmes’ first published book was The House in Windward Leaves, an MG fantasy which became an E-book Finalist in the 2013 New Generation Indie Book Awards and a Juvenile Fiction Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Book Awards. Also, she won Prize Americana for her short story collection, Curiosity Killed the Sphinx and Other Stories, published by Hollywood Books International. In April 2013, The Wide Awake Loons was released by Silver Knight Publishing. The Swan Bonnet, a historical novel, will be published in July, 2013, by GMTA Publishing. Katherine has worked with used and rare books in the last years. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota.
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