A Home in Hastie Hollow:
A Prairie Romance

by Robert Sheward,
196 pages,
ISBN: 1896095119

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First Novels - This Month, a Brood of Ten
by Eva Tihanyi

Robert Sheward's A Home in Hastie Hollow (Polestar, 192 pages, $16.95 paper) is subtitled "A Prairie Romance", but it's actually a prairie fairy-tale: the rags-to-riches story of Mita Bryson. Abandoned in infancy on the doorstep of a mean crone, Mita survives a cruel life working on a pig farm in England. When the old woman dies, Mita, by then sixteen, is handed a letter from a certain Mike Semenoff, a young Saskatchewan farmer. He has sent her a ticket to Canada and a marriage proposal. Unbeknownst to Mita, the crone's son had arranged this to get her off his mother's property.

Mita, realizing she has nothing to lose, heads off across the Atlantic, and after considerable good luck along the way finally reaches Mike's town. Mike, a shy but perfect "prince", spots Mita at the train station and, because he feels inferior, runs off-leaving her to take care of the picture-perfect farm, including the house fit for a princess that he has spent the last four years building.

Unrealistic as this sounds, there's more. Mita is taken to heart by the whole town, becomes daily more competent and attractive, and even inherits a small treasure from the wealthy woman she had befriended on her ocean voyage. Needless to say, the ending is predictable: the prince and the princess are eventually united and live happily ever after.


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