“The Toronto Trilogy” chronicles the life of the city through the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Historical fiction is perhaps one of the best venues for exploring the past, as the daily lives of individual characters is the true story of any decade.
The book that precedes the trilogy is entitled, “There Never Was a Better Time.” It is a tale of the adventures of two young men who immigrate to Toronto in the 1920s. Sinful vaudeville and the “talkies” become the weekly haunts of the two men 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 in a vibrant city that they have learned to adore.
The book allows readers to experience the “Roaring Twenties” in Toronto and gain 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 times of the 20th century. The book contains many archival photographs that help bring realism to a fictional tale.
The first book of “The Toronto Trilogy” is entitled “Arse Over Teakettle.” It 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, yearning to come-of-age as his family and adult neighbours cope with the horrors that war inflicts. The book provides detailed insight into life in Toronto during the 1940s, and tells of Tom attending 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, the story become considerably livelier. The lads 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, as he gazes into the complex world of adult values.
The title of the book, “Arse over Teakettle” is derived from an old English expression, “He/she fell arse over teakettle,” meaning that the person “fell head over heels.” At some point, every assumed value and understanding that the characters believe 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.
On the Labour Day weekend, a young female teacher at the high school where the boys are to attend when school opens in September, 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
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