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Bains Series: Prairie Fire

Bains Series: Prairie Fire

The Bains family are amazed at what they find when they take up their homestead in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba: flash fires that appear suddenly and rage across the open plain, tensions between English settlers and their Métis neighbours that threaten to become just as violent.

At the same time they're filled with hope. Canada in the 1870s is suffering a terrible Depression, and life at their home in Ottawa had become unbearable. The promise of free land in the West beckoned them like an incredible dream. But the realities of building a farm and a home out of nothing are harsh: they have to learn from scratch how to plough, plant, build a house. And the human hatreds that grow in the prairie soil threaten to overcome them all.

Set against the grim realities of homesteading in the Canadian West, Prairie Fire is the story of one family who struggle to adapt to harsh new circumstances. The book is illustrated with a section of photos chronicling this exciting, difficult period in the country's history.

This is the seventh 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. (1998)

What makes the story a little different from most sagas of pioneer life, however, is its exploration of the conflict between the incoming settlers from Ontario and the Metis families who have lived on this land for years. The book does detail an important period in Manitoba history, one to which many local families will relate. The scenes of confrontation between a few bigoted white settlers and their Metis neighbours are particularly well-done.Helen Norrie Winnipeg Free Press

Set in Portage la Prairie circa 1870, when three kids--Jamie, Meg and Kate--arrive with their mother to cliam a homestead. Plenty of hardships, adventure and local history, with the new settlers coming into conflict with Metis landholders.Winnipeg Sun

Canadian history can be compelling, and there is no better proof of this than Bill Freeman's Prairie Fire! an exciting start to a new series about a family of Prairie homsteaders in 1876.... illustrations and photos of Metis and settler life at the end of the book are instant visual aids for kids who can't picture what a house made from prairie sod would look like. Freeman is also good at providing narrative from every family member.Cathy MacDonald Halifax Daily News

(It) brings to life the history and passion of the Métis people and thier clashes with the colonial government of the day. It's full of facts and details about the challenges of pioneer living and is complete with historical photos from that time. Margaret Poole Chronicle Herald

Prairie Fire is a gripping story of a pioneer family... it is no surprise that Freeman has won several awards for his historical fiction. His work is meticulously researched and chock-full of historical details. Ruth McMahon Lethbridge Herald 

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