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Hodgkinson, Amanda: 22 Britannia Road

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Broken Ground is a riveting exploration of the dark, brooding presence of the First World War in the lives of the inhabitants of a “soldier’s settlement” on Vancouver Island. From out of a stubborn, desolate landscape studded with tree stumps, the settlers of Portuguese Creek have built a new life for themselves. But when an encroaching forest fire threatens this fledgling settlement, it also intensifies the remembered horrors of war. The story of Portuguese Creek is told by several of its citizens, including a boy trying to recover from the sudden loss of his father, and a former teacher haunted by what happened to the soldiers he led in France. With a memorable cast of characters, and by turns heart-rending and tragic, humorous and humane, Broken Ground is a powerful novel that immerses us in the lives of an entire community.