Winter Shadows

( 1 )


It is the winter of 1856, and Beatrice Alexander has just returned from Upper Canada to her home on the Red River, in what is now Manitoba. Her father's new wife is threatened by Beatrice and is driving a wedge into the family.

Five generations later, in the same house, Christmas promises to be a miserable time. Cass's mother died of cancer and her father has remarried a woman with an attitude that's very hardto take. Miraculously, when Cass discovers the star brooch belonging ...

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Winter Shadows

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It is the winter of 1856, and Beatrice Alexander has just returned from Upper Canada to her home on the Red River, in what is now Manitoba. Her father's new wife is threatened by Beatrice and is driving a wedge into the family.

Five generations later, in the same house, Christmas promises to be a miserable time. Cass's mother died of cancer and her father has remarried a woman with an attitude that's very hardto take. Miraculously, when Cass discovers the star brooch belonging to Beatrice, her visions lead her to Beatrice's diary. Is she really able to communicate with Beatrice across time, or is it all in her imagination?

Margaret Buffie's great skill as a storyteller creates a splendid, engaging novel that offers readers a rich combination of fine history, suspenseful shifts in time, and unforgettable characters.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"... a breathtaking novel that is part realism, part time-travel fantasy, and part coming of age tale."
"... The alternating narratives are gripping.... Readers will be pulled in by the searing history of bigotry as well as the universals of famiy conflict, love, and friendship."
Children's Literature - Kathie M. Josephs
This historical fiction is powerful and gets the reader hooked by just reading the book jacket. I could hardly wait to read the entire story and it was wonderful! The story begins with Cass arguing with her stepmother who refuses to call her Cass instead of Cassandra and is always making her apologize to or play with Daisy her step-sister. Not only that, but her stepmother is slowing removing all of her Mother's things and is driving a wedge between Cass and her father. Cass was dreading the approaching Christmas season. Five generations earlier there was another girl by the name of Beatrice who felt much like Cass and lived in the same house. Cass finds a brooch that had belonged to Beatrice and now she sees an apparition. Cass must find out if the apparition is in her mind or is it real. This is a fast moving book and will hold the reader's interest from the first to the last page. The characters in the book will stay with you for a long time. They are believable and express strong emotions. The history and time shifts are done amazingly well. Reviewer: Kathie M. Josephs
VOYA - Sara Martin
Still reeling from her mother's death, Cass attempts to cope as her new stepmother and stepsister take over her home and begin removing all signs of her mother's presence. While Cass lives in modern times, Beatrice, in nineteenth-century rural Manitoba, returns home from Upper Canada to help care for her injured father and her Cree grandmother who has been horribly neglected by her father's new wife. Like Cass, Beatrice is finding living with her new stepmother, Ivy, unbearable. To make matters worse, Ivy's grown son, Duncan, teases her mercilessly, even while helping her stand up to his mother. Although the two girls live more than a century apart, Beatrice and Cass are drawn together when they start mysteriously appearing in each other's lives. Readers will immediately be hooked by these parallel stories: within the first page, Beatrice, driving a horse-drawn sleigh through the Canadian wilderness, witnesses a school bus suddenly appear and then vanish into thin air. Each girl is struggling with similar issues, but Buffie deftly portrays two vastly different time periods. Cree phrases lend an air of authenticity to Beatrice's voice, but decoding the unfamiliar text with help from the glossary at the back of the novel may deter some readers. Fans of historical fiction will appreciate the descriptions of life in a previous century, while readers who prefer stories with a dash of the paranormal will not be disappointed. This genre-blending tale will be a welcome addition to any library serving middle school or younger teen readers. Reviewer: Sara Martin
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Two young women living in the same house but separated by time are struggling with similar difficulties when they begin seeing one another in visions. Cass is a modern-day teen grieving over her mother's death and clashing with her new stepmother. In 1856, Beatrice is struggling with her own nasty stepmother, who is not only jealous of her father's affection, but also holds Beatrice's Cree ancestry against her. Both girls are grappling with depression and have fathers who are ineffectually dealing with the conflict in their households. At first, the teens fear they are losing their minds when they see the other but they form a bond based on Beatrice's diary entries that Cass is able to read. Learning about each other's lives helps these girls cope with their own situations and begin to understand if not like, their stepmothers. Told in alternating chapters, the story is slow to start, but the well-drawn characters will eventually capture readers' attention. The details of daily life and racial politics in 1856 Manitoba, Canada, add weight to the story and the chaste romance between Beatrice and her two suitors will further draw in fans of historical fiction.—Caroline Tesauro, Radford Public Library, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Two Manitoba girls meet across a 150-year divide. Each is grieving her mother's untimely death and struggling to adjust to new and difficult family dynamics. Contemporary Cass must share a room with her whiny stepsister while her new stepmother remodels their home to eliminate all traces of Cass's mother. Back in 1856, residing in the same house, Beatrice, who is English Métis (with Scottish and First Nations ancestry), strives to make a life for herself while shielding her Swampy Cree grandmother from her harsh Scottish stepmother's neglect. When Cass discovers a brooch that belonged to Beatrice, each becomes increasingly aware of the other, offering support and understanding missing at home. Should Beatrice choose her refined missionary suitor over her stepmother's effervescent, unpredictable son? Can Cass find a way to heal her fractured home life? Buffie's characters and the conflicts they face are deeply engaging, more than compensating for the well-worn time-travel plot device. Of special interest is the rare portrait of a multiracial community when informal marriages among British and First Nations people were common. (glossaries, author's note) (Historical fantasy. 11 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781770493582
  • Publisher: Tundra
  • Publication date: 9/11/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,453,471
  • Age range: 10 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 5.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

MARGARET BUFFIE born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, began her writing career in 1987 with her first novel for young adults - Who Is Frances Rain? It quickly became a bestseller. Since then, she has published nine other books, many of which were also published in the United States, Norway, Sweden, Australia, Great Britain, Italy, Germany, and China.

Margaret Buffie has received numerous awards and honors throughout her career, including the prestigious Vicky Metcalf Award for Body of Work. Winter Shadows was a Nautilus Silver winner, listed as one of OLA's Best Bets for Young Adult Fiction, and a finalist for the CLA Book of the Year Award and the McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 14, 2012

    First I¿d like to say that I won a copy of this as a member of t

    First I’d like to say that I won a copy of this as a member of the Early Reviewers group on Librarything, in exchange for an impartial review.

    This was a heart-wrenching book to read. It was so well-written I could really empathise with the characters. I lost my father early, and I fought tooth and nail against my mother’s husband (notice, even now I can’t call him my step-father) taking the place of my father. I didn’t even want my father’s twin to take his place (even though in his own way he did, and did very well!). I felt Cass’ grief for her mother, the guilt that she carried, and the animosity towards her step-mother. On the other hand, the author starts to show the little ways in which Cass’ step-mother really is trying, and failing horribly most times, to mend their relationship.

    And then you’ve got Beatice’s story overlapping Cass’. How horrible it must have been to face such racism and ignorance, and have to continue day after day with your head held high. The author did a very good job of melding two unique stories into one.

    The part I liked the most was my own love of genealogy. I would love to meet some of my female ancestors! Phoebe Newton, if you’re out there and you can contact me (even though you were born in the 1770s), I would love to know your story! *big grin*

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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