Mattie's Story Paperback – Aug 2003
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About the Author
Margaret Westlie is a native of Halifax with close family ties to Prince Edward Island, where her family immigrated from the Isle of Skye, Scotland, in 1803. She is a graduate of the Victoria General Hospital School of Nursing and of Dalhousie University in Halifax. She discovered her talent for writing almost by accident, while completing a degree in church music, and immediately switched her degree plan to English, receiving a Master's Degree in English with a Professional Writing Emphasis in Prose and Poetry from the University of Missouri. She played violin with the Philarmonia of Kansas City and has sung with a number of choral groups, including the Confederation Centre Singers and Akkord in Charlottetown. She is also an accomplished pencil portraitist. She makes her home in beautiful Prince Edward Island, Canada, where her novels are set. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
A mysterious bearded man took her hand and led her miles away from everything she knew. Stifling her tears during the silent walk to their new home, Mattie and Mr. Mathews - at least she knew his last name - stopped long enough to be married.
Typical of most girls married at the turn of the previous century, she knew nothing of married life or the baby she would have nine months after her marriage.
Margaret A. Westlie has written a historic romance set in the realities of rural poverty. At first, we bring little Mattie into our hearts to protect her; and then, how heartwarming it is to watch her grow into a loving wife and mother. Built on a foundation of faith and family, Mattie's Story is as comforting as an old quilt.
Everything about this engaging story is refreshingly natural — from the clear, straightforward dialogue to the complex personal relationships that emerge in the course of this historically situated tale. Woven from the threads of a true story and enhanced with a rich knowledge of the period, Mattie's Story combines a thoughtful consideration of family, as lived in the19th Century, with something rather unique: attention to the physical details of daily life for young women, as experienced during all seasons of a Prince Edward Island farm and community: Mattie moves from the autumn chalk dust of school, to candle-making and brown sugar sauce on Christmas pudding; through the insecurities, superstitions, and hopes of young teenager; and on to life as she had barely imagined it.
In regard to its successful melding of theme with the practical aspects of country life, this book complements Sir John Andrew Macphail's autobiographical, The Master's Wife, but differs in some important respects: Mattie's Story is written by a woman whose main character is a woman. As well, while exploring relationships between family members of all ages, the author focuses less on perspectives of mature women than on the story of a girl growing into womanhood; she treats the themes of doubt, love and the realities of Island life with an equal hand. Unlike the girl of Green Gables fame, Mattie inhabits a far less naive world; if it is lacking anything, it may be a dash of hilarity, and there are few histrionics, but then that would not be typical of Mattie's understated, but touching story.
Readers return to a gentler pace with this book; the author conjures up a rare kind of clarity, one that brings a stillness to the day and fosters a sense of intimacy between the reader, the characters, and their world. This winning story may amaze and at times, inspire, younger readers, and evoke memories in older ones; it will leave both of them wanting to share Mattie's Story.
While it equals the fond beauty of those stories, it also contains a rich stream of everyday details that are strikingly different from the features of our modern-day world — the stark realities of a Calvinistic existence where life was hard work and personal sensitivities took a back seat to familial and civic duties. I'm finding these nuances fascinating, yet they don't read like "homework on the page"; they flow naturally and effortlessly from the emerging story.
The characters seem like such simple folk, yet there's a real weight and emotional power to them. I feel personally invested in seeing how things turn out for them!
Congratulations to the author for successfully communicating her love for the subject and the people involved.