Cameron Alam’s debut novel Anangokaa is set to hit bookshelves on April 3, 2023.
The historical fiction book focuses on Upper Canada in 1804 on the edge of Chippewa territory, specifically Lord Selkirk’s Baldoon settlement, which is just outside of Wallaceburg and Walpole Island First Nation.
In the story, Flora MacCallum wakes from a malarial corna and witnesses the staggering loss her siblings have endured during their first days on the mosquito-infested banks of the Chenail Écarté.
Lured 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.
“Lyrical… 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,” Foreword Reviews stated.
“Anangokaa deserves to be on the bookshelf of every reader who is a fan of historical fiction,” stated Ann Weisgarber, author of The Glovemaker.
“A must-read for everyone interested in Canadian Indigenous history… The Baldoon experiment was a historical disaster, but the author ends her tale on a hopeful note. A remarkable love song to Indigenous peoples,” stated the Historical Novel Society.
Alam, who was born in Buffalo, New York, lives in eastern Ontario along the St. Lawrence Seaway with her soldier husband, two children, playful dog and alpha cat.
The book can be pre-ordered at www.blackwaterpress.com.