Friday, March 16, 2018

Review of Grace in Love, by Emily Jane Orford

Review of Grace in Love
by Emily-Jane Orford

What is it that defines a person’s life? Is it the wonderful, amazing (or the opposite) deeds they perform as adults that make them memorable in the history of human-kind? Or does the true nature of a person present itself from the very moment that person enters this world?

Grace Woodsworth MacInnis (1905-1991) was a well-respected Parliamentarian, a Canadian with passion for the working class, a person who cared for others, especially women and their difficult plights in life. She was a gifted speaker, a compassionate soul, an advocate for equality of rights and liberties.

Before Grace made her name in Canadian politics, she was a girl. We read about her younger years in Ruth Latta’s “Grace and the Secret Vault” (Baico, 2017). Now the author takes the reader on another journey through this amazing woman’s formative years in her latest book, “Grace in Love” (Baico, 2018). While the author allows the reader to follow Grace’s studies in Paris and her journeys around Europe, the reader also learns about a young woman just learning about love. In Paris, as one would expect, she believes she’s discovered true love, only to come to a realization that this love is a passing fancy from the partner’s perspective. The young woman, now educated in French and ready to return to a career in teaching like her mother, saves herself before she falls victim to this love’s alluring temptations. And, ultimately, she learns that, although she may have lost a friend in her almost lover, she has many other friends, new and old, whom she loves and a family she also loves and cares for. There are, after all, many kinds of love.

Returning to Winnipeg and teaching, Grace finally unburdens her sorrows to her mother, who bluntly, but also compassionately, assesses the situation, telling Grace that, “men are like streetcars. There’ll be another one along in twenty minutes.” And, for Grace, there was another one. But it did take a little longer than twenty minutes.

In Winnipeg, Grace discovers that she doesn’t possess the passion for teaching that her mother had. Her father invites Grace to join him in Ottawa as an office assistant and she accepts, even though she doesn’t yet know how to type. Thrown into the world of politics, not so unfamiliar since she grew up with a very open-minded, socialist father, Grace attaches herself to another like-minded thinker and the two connect and bond, as love grows. Grace had found her life’s partner and her passion for helping others in a way not so different from her father’s, in government.

Ruth Latta is a storyteller, intent and dedicated to presenting Canadian history, especially the history of Canadian women, in a creative and enjoyable manner. A person’s life is a story and the author has captured the beauty of the person she is writing about in a storytelling manner. Ruth has done considerable research on Grace Woodsworth MacInnis, particularly studying the woman’s extensive archive of correspondence. Grace, like Ruth, was passionate about expressing herself vividly with the written word.

This is a powerful, insightful and intuitive exploration of one woman’s life, before the woman became the power in Canadian politics that made her memorable. A valuable addition to Canadian literature and Canadian history.

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