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Under the Maidenhair – Billie Milholland

Absolutely Wonderful

In 1953, twelve-year-old Natalie spies on her neighbours recording their lives for future historians. Theoretically, not much should be going on. WWII is over, people have gone on with their boring daily lives in small town Alberta. Or have they?

Turns out the legacy of war lingers with sorrow for those killed, with unseen wounds in those who returned. The war may have changed lives, but prejudice and superiority remain.

As Natalie’s spy glass hones in on citizens’ lives — good deeds and bad — are exposed much to the readers’ delight.

Kudos to Milholland for this wonderful story which is much more than YA.



An engaging, coming-of-age story set in a small Alberta town struggling to come to grips with the aftermath of World War II. The people in Deep Creek are trying to get back to normal, but there is nothing normal about Nathalie Smythe’s life.

The youngest child in a family still torn apart by complications caused by war, Nathalie (Tally) talks to ghosts. When she discovers something that is “…not the kind of thing you can tell a granddad either, no matter how dead he is” she confides in her ‘Dearest Diary’, her only constant friend. But when her friend Mary is accused of a crime she didn’t commit and is in danger of being sent to the Red Deer Provincial Training School for Mental Defectives, Tally is forced into action.

As small secrets beget larger secrets how can two intrepid children bring to light enough proof to convince adults the truth about what they have discovered?


The David Chronicles. Come along for the journey!
Origins of the word ‘taxi’.

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