When John and Meg Bains heard the news of their lumberman father's death, the cold wind shaking their tiny Ottawa cabin grew even colder. If someone didn't soon start bringing in money, they would lose their modest home and find themselves on the town's raw, muddy streets.
They realize that only they can support their family, and head off to a lumber camp in the Ottawa Valley for the winters' season. There they learn the difficult and dangerous work of felling big trees, squaring timber, and readying logs for the drive downriver. They also learn of the tensions that simmer between the owners of the camp and the working shantymen, tensions that threaten to explode. Spring approaches, the river swells with runoff, and the logs start their violent trip along the current. At the same time, the bosses' demands and those of the men seem bound for a collision.
Set against the rough and exciting background of a 19th century lumber camp, Shantymen of Cache Lake is a classic account of two indomitable young people and their gutsy adaptation to hard times. The book is illustrated with photos chronicling Canada's huge and exciting timber trade.
This is the first book in the Bains series of historical novels, well-researched, action-filled narratives following the travels of one family across Canada--from Newfoundland to Alberta-- in search of a better life during the hard times of the 1870s.
"...the subject is fascinating...the passages setting forth the problems and background of the shantymen are forceful and convincing."
"Canadian history that young people can encompass and enjoy."
"A rich, exciting story of a lively era of Canadian history."