The Old Love and the New Love
by Ruth Latta
Baico Publishing Inc., Ottawa, 2012
The Old Love and the New Love, a novel, is the latest work by one of Ottawa's established writers of short stories, novels, and poetry. Ruth Latta's art of writing stories with surprising twists of plot and nostalgic flavours of town and country life in Ontario was in full flower in Winter Moon, an earlier collection of short stories. Once again, in The Old Love and the New Love, the clues required to solve the mystery are sprinkled throughout the chapters, but the real culprit is likely to escape notice until the end, just as it should be.
The title invites anticipation of romantic conflict, but it is the small-scale terrorism with tangled roots extending back to Irish civil wars and rebellions that disrupts comfortable lives along the Rideau River in suburban Ottawa. When Cleo, the narrator of the story, tells her friend Kate that "many Canadians are uninformed about foreign countries and their politics, but that doesn't mean we're unteachable," she relates her unhapy experiences with Leo to Ireland's fights for independence and sheds a light on how these struggles have often crossed the Atlantic Ocean. Little did Cleo realize, when she was romantically involved ten years earlier in Toronto with Leo Phelan, born in County Donegal, that he would turn up again at her doorstep in Ottawa and cause her to learn more about the workings of the Irish Republican Army than she ever wanted to know.
The Old Love and the New Love is interesting, informative and holds attention from start to finish. The author provides several bibliographic references on the ongoing campaigns for control in the politics of Ireland.
Philip Donnelly was born and educated in Ireland, graduating in 1956 in Civil Engineering at University College, Dublin. He is now retired from his career as a professional engineer and public servant in the Department of Public Works of Canada. He has travelled extensively worldwide and in Canada. He is the author of The Eyes that Shone: From Ireland to Canada in the 1950s, (Renfrew, General Store, $29.95, ISBN 978-189-750-867-1), the story of his life.