Monday, March 31, 2008

Book Review: Three Million Acres of Flame

Three Million Acres of Flame is a well written, interesting fictional account of one of Canada's great national disasters, the Miramichi Fire, which destroyed 3 million acres in New Brunswick in 1825. The story opens with the main focus on the recent turmoil Skye Haverill's family has endured with the death of their mother and the remarriage of their dad to Hannah, a young widow with a son, Stewart.
However, their lives are forever changed on October 7, 1825 when a wildfire roars through New Brunswick and devastates numerous communities including Skye's town of Newcastle (which is now part of the city of Miramichi). Skye's stepsister is born during the conflagration as were 12 other babies. The Haverill's along with virtually all of their fellow inhabitants of Newcastle lose everything in the fire. How they struggle to cope with the immediate aftermath of the fire becomes the focus of Sherrard's first historical novel. The courage, resiliency and the faith with which the townsfolk respond to their dire circumstances is vividly portrayed by Valerie Sherrard.
I enjoyed reading this book as it was well paced and has a positive ending despite the horrific circumstances. Sherrard incorporates many facts of the Miramichi Fire as well as the experiences of those who endured this tragedy to produce a novel that will make this historic event very real to young readers.
It is to be hoped that Valerie Sherrard will produce more excellent historical novels for young Canadian readers.

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