“Lynne Golding knows how to tell a story. With yarns she gathered at her great aunt’s knee, she has woven a compelling story that harkens back to a time of pre-war innocence in a town I’ve always been proud to call my own.”
— Former Ontario Premier The Honorable William G. Davis
“Lynne Golding has opened a magical door to the past and ushered us into Edwardian Brampton to marvel at a simpler time when family loyalty was strong and community meant everything. When gathering for a clan portrait was an anxious ordeal; a picnic by the river was keenly anticipated; when quarantine struck fear in one’s heart; and secrets were left locked away in the family cupboards. Golding’s writing is solid and creative; her historical detail is authentic and meticulously researched. Her cast of beautifully-described characters leap from the pages -- from the young, innocent protagonist, Jessie Stephens, trying to understand her world and those in it, to her eccentric and fascinating Aunt Lil who is as real and beloved as your best friend. They will make you laugh and weep and wonder, and be fondly remembered long after the final pages are read.”
– Cheryl Cooper, author of the Seasons of War series
“It’s easy to forget that everything about the roads we drive, the hydro and water to our homes, the schools and health care we need, comes from the cradle of community. This book is a journey back in time to what was needed for building a future that cares for many thousands for decades to come. Through a fascinating family, Lynne Golding’s novel leads us into the past in a whimsical way that can’t help but connect to our own ambitions.”
– Lorna Dueck, CEO, Crossroads Global Media Group
I love the way the books The Innocent and The Beleaguered weave together the real story of Jessie Current’s childhood with local history and fictional additions. I am looking forward to the final book in the series.
– Diana Noel, Mississauga, ON
Be smitten by Beleaguered. It is pure Ontario Gothic. The descriptions of Lynne Golding’s scenes are deeply evocative and authentic, painting precisely another place and time.
– John Campion, Toronto
Loved The Beleaguered. Finished it in three nights. Can’t wait for the last instalment.
– Wilma Upshall, Brampton
The Beleaguered. What a great read! And I am pleased that it was included in the Canadian Best Seller list in the Glove & Mail.
– Elspeth Hogg, Muskoka
The Beleaguered is extraordinary. I still have tears in my eyes from its final pages. I have insight into a period of time about which I knew very little save from a history focused on the battlefront, not the home front.
– Kevin Goldthorp, Toronto
The Beleaguered is a tremendous read of what "the war" was like in small town Canada and how it impacted people. I look forward to the third book.
– Steve Coupland, Ottawa
I started The Beleaguered on Saturday afternoon. I was so engrossed by the stories, the characters and the history that I read it from cover to cover in one sitting. The Beleaguered brings a whole world and time perfectly to life.
– Ruth Foster, Toronto
Lynne Golding captured the ups and downs of young female friendship perfectly. I found myself fascinated by how people came together to contribute to the war effort. Really great detail and a fun plot.
– Katherine Jones, Toronto
I very much enjoyed The Beleaguered – watching the characters grow from the Innocent – and seeing how WWI affected the characters and the entire community.
– Elaine Riehm, Burlington
Lynne Golding describes a way of last-century life, with experiences and feelings as true to life on a New Brunswick farm as they were to a small Ontario town.
– Verna Mills, Saint John New Brunswick
The interweaving of fiction and fact in The Innocent and The Beleaguered is captivating and informative. The stories were sweet if not, at times, a little sad—characteristic of course, of the times.
– Karen Newman, Orillia
Engrossed by Beleaguered. Lynne succeeded in painting a stunning tableau of life in Canada during World War 1 and the experiences of a most engaging family.
– Teri Brown, Toronto
With apparent simplicity, Lynne Golding provides a depth of sensitivity and understanding of human nature that transforms her words to an art form
– Ruth Redelmeier, Port Hope
I love historical fiction particularly when I know it is meticulously researched. Lynne Golding’s “inside knowledge” from her Great Aunt Jessie makes her writing even more engaging with deft glimpses into a small town experiencing the impact of WW I. Readers will feel the pain of the terrible decisions war forces on every level and especially the emotional highs and lows of the Stephens family, their friends and neighbours.
– Penny Thompson, Victoria
The Beleaguered is a national treasure that should be required reading for every Canadian. The story unfolds in a small Ontario town in the early 1900s with characters that take you on a real life educational and emotion journey. As a Bramptonian, the novel opened my eyes to the incredible architecture in my town — it literally changed how I look at some buildings I have walked by for decades.
– Carol Smith, Brampton
In reading The Innocent and the Beleaguered, I have come to know Jessie Stephens and her family and friends as if they were my own. Through them, I experienced the initial excitement of WW1, the later trepidation, the feelings of fear, guilt and sorrow, the challenges of life at home during the war, the successes and even the joy of the time. I’m anxiously awaiting the third book in the series.
– Pam London, Indiana
If you liked The Innocent, you will love The Beleaguered. I read it in three days. Can’t wait for the third book in the series.
– Carmen Vara, Madrid
Lynne Golding has a superb talent for mixing fact with fiction and I like the way he way she has kept the mystery progressing.
– Sue Beatty, Logy Bay, Newfoundland
In The Beleaguered, Lynne Golding has brought a whole world and time to life. Following one family from Austria to Toronto to our little tiny Success, Saskatchewan, she has captured the journey, hardships and joys of so many of our 19th and early 20th century ancestors.
– Patricia Mahoney, Regina, Saskatchewan
Lynne Golding’s abilities as a story teller and her attention to the details of her research shed light on small town Canada in the early 20th century in a rare way. I highly recommend both The Innocent and The Beleaguered.
– Jackie Eisner, Halifax
Great book by a skillful writer! A wonderful way to be reminded of our history. And of course I appreciated the Winnipeg story line.
– Allan Lauder, Winnipeg
My book club members thoroughly enjoyed The Beleaguered. From the mysteries trying to be solved by the protagonist, the attitudes of the time and the complexities facing those at home during the war, the book offered no shortage of interesting topics to be discussed
– Diane Cunningham, Florida
I enjoyed all the books immensely and am sad to think that this may indeed be the end of the Beneath the Alders series. I loved so many of the characters in the books - both real and fictional. The protagonist, Jessie, was a remarkable woman. What a life she lived!
– Roxanne McCormick, Alliston
The best volume of a wonderful 3 part series that traces the life of Jessie, her home town of Brampton Ontario (really any small town in Canada), and Canada as they mature together in the crucible of WW1. Absorbing and well researched, it sheds light on a generation of Canadian women as they adapted to broad societal changes accelerated by a global conflict. Read it as a stand alone book or savour it as the conclusion to a memorable series.
– Meghan Robertson, Port Hope
I loved the trilogy but this was bar far the best of the three. I devoured it in one sitting. I hope Lynne continues to write books like these!!
– Yvette Scott, Mississauga
Being born and bread in Brampton, this was a walk down memory lane. Like watching a movie in slow motion. Was able to visualize the characters. A real pleasure, easy reading. Brampton has come a long way.
— Mona Demme, Brampton
I would highly recommend this series, Beneath the Alders. The Mending was the third and last in the series and follows the young adult life of Jesse during the Spanish flu, university life, and early career. You don’t have to be from Brampton to appreciate the exquisite detail of small town life 100 years ago. However, since I did grow up in Brampton, this beautifully written series taught me about the origins of my home town and the toll that WW1 took on its residents
— Pam Tobey, Cleveland
I just loved this book. It made me smile, and giggle and cry. When Jessie and her friends were walking down the street and going to all the different places, I felt like I was walking with them. I also was with them at the train station and in France as well. To tell you the truth, I was on the whole adventure with them all.
— Michelle Sauve, Mississauga