I had the chance this past Thursday to go to an author event hosted by my local library for an author who grew up in my town. Robert McMaster released his debut novel of historical fiction in June 2012 called Trolley Days. I was excited to go because not only was it a local author, but it was an HF author!
Of course I was the youngest in the audience by at least 30 years – most of the people there had went to school with the author or were the parents of those who went to school with him. What was really cool about this experience was getting to see the old pictures of my town. A lot of the events that occur in the book actually happened in Southbridge or are based on locations/people from Southbridge. I have been interested in seeing what the town used to look like when it was a booming mill/manufacturing town, so that was a lot of fun. It was also cool because some of the places in Holyoke that are featured in the novel I know about too because my boyfriend grew up just 2 towns over from there. While I wasn’t as interested in the book when the talk began, by the end I had to read it. I of course bought a copy of the book – not only because it is set in my local community, but because the proceeds were going to the library!
The author of this book teaches biology at Holyoke Community College – and one of the interesting tidbits he told us was that he always takes his bio students out on this walking path behind the school as part of the class, and it wasn’t until just recently that he learned that the path used to be part of the local trolley lines – how cool.
Trolley Days by Robert McMaster
Unquomonk Press, 316 Pages
June 15, 2012
Here’s the book blurb:
Holyoke, Massachusetts, in the nineteen-teens. It was the Silicon Valley of its time, a breeding ground of new ideas, a cauldron of hope, ambition, greed. Powered by the waters of a mighty river, its mills roared night and day, drawing workers from nearly every farm in New England, from Canada, and from Europe. They came to forge new lives for themselves and their families; many were rewarded, some bitterly disappointed.
Trolley Days is the story of an unlikely friendship between two boys growing up in Holyoke in its industrial heyday. Jack Bernard is the son of a mill worker who emigrated from Canada, Tom Wellington the son of the mill owner. Jack is shy and socially a bit awkward, Tom self-assured and smooth-talking. But for all their differences, the two boys have much in common. They love fishing, sports, and all manner of youthful tomfoolery. Each has suffered the loss of a sibling, tragedies that have affected both families deeply.
In the opening chapter a blizzard is approaching as Jack boards a train for the long trip to Boston. He has received a cryptic letter informing him that Tom is in a Boston jail. Despite a recent falling-out between the two, Jack still considers Tom his best friend, and he refuses to allow a snowstorm to prevent him from going to Tom’s aid. Soon Jack will be plunged into a mystery that calls on all his courage and determination to solve, even as Tom’s freedom, perhaps his very life, hangs in the balance. To save his friend, Jack will need the assistance of Tom’s sister, Anne, but that will require Jack and Anne to reconcile their fractured relationship.
Does friendship have its limits? Can bonds of trust, once broken, be repaired? Can we learn from life’s tragedies and move on, or must we carry them like lead weights on our hearts forever? In Trolley Days, it seems it is the young who bear the heaviest of life’s burdens and must marshal the strength to free themselves and their parents.
If you would like to read a section from the novel – check out this excerpt. You can also check out some of the old pictures that he showed at the event. Visit the author’s website for much more. Hope you can check out the book!
Trolley Days: Robert T McMaster,Benjamin Christopher Martins: 9780985694401: Books
Copyright © 2012 by The Maiden’s Court