As a new small press committed to publishing unique works of literature and nonfiction, Arbor Farm Press was intrigued by the in-depth background Corrales, New Mexico author Sue Hallgarth provides her main characters: Pulitizer-Prize winning novelist Willa Cather and her talented life partner Edith Lewis, a New York City ad agency executive.
On the Rocks is the first title of Hallgarth’s smart new literary mystery series. We’re proud to publish this delightful novel, set in 1929 on Grand Manan, an island of small fishing villages in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Canada. Historically accurate, On the Rocks captures a unique time and place in engaging prose, weaving a terrific story in the process.
With tantalizing glimpses into Cather and Lewis’ personal lives as well as the lives of their large cohort of friends—some of the more interesting artists, writers, and reformers of the period—Hallgarth captures compelling times in American and Canadian history: Prohibition, post-World War I, an era that saw significant numbers of Independent Women living professional lives and creating joyful retreats for themselves and their friends and families. It’s a good read: passit on!
I first visited Grand Manan, an island in the Bay of Fundy, in 1989. Willa Cather and Edith Lewis found Grand Manan in 1922, travelling by train to Campobello, Maine, where they caught a ferry to North Head, one of five fishing villages on the island and its main port. My partner and I reached the island the way most people do these days, taking a two-and-a-half hour ferry ride from Blacks Harbour in New Brunswick, Canada.
- How much did you know about Willa Cather before you read On the Rocks? What do you know about her life? About the lives she created in her fiction? How would you guess they might be similar? Different?
- Did this novel help you know more about Willa Cather? Edith Lewis? About the world they lived in? What kinds of details did you pick up?