Caroline Woodward's Reviews > Penny Loves Wade, Wade Loves Penny

Penny Loves Wade, Wade Loves Penny by Caroline Woodward
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Nov 04, 2011

(Review from the author)
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“Modern day odyssey will strike a chord with rural readers”
By Bob Collins, Country Life in BC, December 2011

It is rare to find authentic farm characters in contemporary literature but that’s exactly what B.C. author Caroline Woodward ( delivers in her novel . Woodward, currently a lighthouse keeper near Tofino, was born and raised on a homestead east of Fort St. John in the North Peace and it is the depth of her roots and experience there that bring Penny and Wade Toland and their Peace country ranch convincingly to life.

Penny and Wade have inherited the debt ridden Toland ranch. On a financial tightrope, they struggle to hang on, reliant on the money from Wade’s trucking business and Penny’s substitute teaching. The story line will strike a familiar chord with many rural readers. Woodward tells the tale as a modern day odyssey.

Wade’s odyssey takes him on a complicated long-haul journey from the Peace to the Gulf Islands, then on to the Okanagan, the Kootenays, and then a race for home with the first winter storm. Along the way he meets hippies, bikers, a female punk band called the Sireens, and is betrayed by Norman, his ne’er-do-well driving partner.

Back at the ranch, Penny is busy with choir practice, quilting, teaching, ranch chores, running a gauntlet of male attention from an envious neighbour and a surly bank manager to an interested co-worker, worrying about Wade, and juggling bills to keep everything afloat.

Woodward is a gifted storyteller who draws deeply from her country roots to give us bang-on characters and a compelling story. You can’t help liking Penny and Wade. They are people you’d want to have for neighbours. People who deserve to make a go of it. The kind of people you’d gladly lend a hand to.

In Woodward’s own words, the message in Penny Loves Wade, Wade Loves Penny is simple: “Hang on to the land, look out for one another, and believe that things will get better. They have to!”

But don’t take her word for it, read the book.

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