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By: Joan Harper

Gracie

Pages: 224 Ratings:
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Gracie is set in an imaginary 300 acres of heavily forested land on Vancouver Island, near Duncan, British Columbia. Here evergreen trees grow to gigantic heights and the surviving, original growth is fiercely protected. It is owned by the Kettmore family and on the property, they operate a small but exclusive resort, Madrona Manor.

As the story opens, Kenna Collins, a San Francisco journalist who during her university days worked summers at the resort, has suffered the misfortune of having the travel magazine she wrote for go bankrupt. When she worked at Madrona, Gracie, a long-time employee now retired, became her mentor and they have remained fast friends. Gracie suggests that Kenna come to Madrona and stay until she finds another job or establishes herself as a freelance journalist. This is manna from heaven to Kenna because she invested all savings she had in the magazine to try to help save it and is flat broke.

The events that follow her arrival actually began two years earlier, when Brett, the younger of the two Kettmore brothers, was seriously injured in a horrendous car crash. When Kenna arrives at the lodge and is told that Brett is brain-damaged and considered dangerous, she is devastated. His older brother, John, and his wife, Thelma, are now running the lodge and order her to stay away from him. She is distraught by the order and determined that she will find Brett and, if possible, help him, but first she must go to Gracie’s small farm and ask for help. She makes her way to Gracie’s the very next day hoping to find support and help for Brett but instead a dreadful surprise awaits her.

Joan Harper, B Ed, MA, was born in Vancouver, BC, a city set in the centre of the beautiful Pacific Northwest region. It was there she grew up, attended public school and then the University of British Columbia. Gracie is Joan’s second book. Her first was a biography also set in the Pacific Northwest region, but it took place in the far north, an isolated region with spectacular, untouched scenery. Unlike her first, Gracie is set in the far west much farther south on Vancouver Island, a huge area with a temperate climate that makes it an attractive place for Canadians to retire. During Joan’s university years, she worked at one of the many resorts on Vancouver Island and accordingly brings an air of authenticity to the descriptions and anecdotes in Gracie. Her career after graduation consisted of raising three sons, returning to university to obtain a diploma in library science and then obtaining an MA. She returned to the public school system briefly and ended her career at the University of British Columbia, where she taught library education courses for nine years.


Currently, Joan and her husband are retired and live in Sechelt, BC, a charming oceanfront community approximately 70 miles north of Vancouver. They have three grown sons and six grandchildren.

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