I have spent much of professional life studying and teaching about Toronto’s past. My book “The Villages Within,” which is non-fiction, was short-listed for the Toronto Heritage Awards. The city has a rich and diverse history, appreciated by a few and ignored by many. This is a pity. To entice readers to learn more about the city, my recent books attempt to present the historical facts woven into entertaining stories. Historical fiction is perhaps one of the best venues for relating tales of the past, as the human drama of daily life is the true story of any decade.
The books are presented chronologically.The first book is entitled, “There Never Was a Better Time.” Is a tale that relates the adventures of two young men who immigrate to Toronto in the 1920s. This was one of of the most interesting and lively periods in the city’s history. Sinful vaudeville and the “talkies” become their weekly haunts as they enjoy the diverse pleasures that Toronto offers. They chase the women at Sunnyside Beach, the Toronto Islands, and even pick up girls in the Food Building at the CNE. Is a glorious tale of youthful adventure. The main characters of the story fall in love with the city and its entertainment venues.
The book allows readers to learn about the “Roaring Twenties” in Toronto while gaining insight into the personal joys and sorrows of those who immigrated from other countries or small towns to the the big city, during one of the most exciting decades of the 20th century history. The book contains many archival photographs that help bring realism to a fictional tale.
After completing this book, I began writing the first book of “The Toronto Trilogy.” It is entitled “Arse Over Teakettle,” and tells of a family’s struggles with the stress of the war years in Toronto during the 1940s. The story centres around a young boy named Tom Hudson, as he watches his family and neighbours cope with the horrors that war inflicts. The book provides detailed insight into what it was like live in Toronto during the 1940s and for a child to attend school in this tumultuous decade. Many of the tales are humorous and heart-warming.
When a mischievous boy Tom’s age moves into the neighbourhood, things become considerably livelier. The boys nick-name the new-comer “Shorty,” and he leads his mates in a merry chase as he explores the activities of “the big boys,” which of course includes their sexuality. The social prejudices and moral issues of the decade are exposed as the story progresses. Tom is forced to examine these attitudes, being a child gazing into the complex world of adult values.
The title of the book, “Arse over Teakettle” is derived from an old English expression, “He fell arse over teakettle,” meaning that the person “fell head over heels.” At some point, every assumed value and understanding that the characters believe in is turned “upside down,” or as the book expresses it, “Arse Over Teakettle.” This is as true for the adults in the story as it is for the children.
The second book of “The Toronto Trilogy” is entitled “The Reluctant Virgin.” It continues where the first book left off, chronicling the lives of Tom and his outrageous friend Shorty as they mature as teenagers in the 1950s. However, the gentle nature of the first book, which is a tale of human relations and childhood adventures, becomes brutal as this book is a murder/mystery. One of the young female teachers of the high school where the boys are to attend, is murdered in the seclusion of the Humber Valley. This is a graphic tale of a serial killer who haunts the streets, ravines, and laneways of Toronto. The killer disguises the methods employed to dispatch the victims, and the police are not aware they they are seeking a serial killer. To add to the mystery, the killer drains copious amount of blood from the victims.
This book is not intended for readers who shy away from graphic details of a murder or the rough language of earthy characters.
Similar to the first book in the trilogy, the novel exposes the social prejudices and moral dilemmas of the decade.
The third book of “The Toronto Trilogy,” entitled “A Virgin No More,” will be available next year. The story tells about the lives of the same characters as the first two book, as they proceed into the decadent decade of the 1960s.
The books may be purchased in soft cover or electronic editions. All books are available at Chapters/Indigo and on Amazon.com. The electronic editions are less that $4. Follow the links:
There Never Was a Better Time: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000056586/THERE-NEVER-WAS-A-BETTER-TIME.aspx
Arse Over Teakettle: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000132634/Arse-Over-Teakettle.aspx
The Reluctant Virgin; http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000188306/The-Reluctant-Virgin.aspx
Author’s Home Page: https://tayloronhistory.com/
Authors can be contacted at: [email protected]