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Chaudière Falls, my most recent novel of dramatized history, is based upon the founding of Canada's National Capital Region, and how Ottawa became the nation's capital. It's available in two formats: Trade Paperback and as an ebook. Click on the Purchase tab to see the options. For residents of Ottawa, Ontario, it's also available in both formats at the Ottawa Public Library: https://ottawa.bibliocommons.com/search?locale=en-CA&t=keyword&q=Chaudiere%20Falls. If the library in your community isn't carrying it, most libraries will accept patrons' requests to purchase books.
Ebooks: My three novels can be purchased for very reasonable prices on the ebook website Smashwords. Here are the links to the books: Chaudière Falls: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/736420; McNab: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/11063; DUEL: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/10052. Please send the links to people who prefer reading ebooks.
Review: Writer Mark Van Dusen has reviewed Chaudière Falls.
In a day of tiny attention spans and fake news, Chaudière Falls reminds us of the value of meticulously researched history. The 655-page narrative brims with period details that support David Mulholland's historical-fiction epic.
In Falls, he throws back the curtain on roughly six key decades during which a backwoods settlement hacks, brawls, and negotiates its way toward becoming a new nation. It's the early 1800s at the confluence of three great rivers: the Ottawa, Rideau, and Gatineau. Here, on the lip of the great cataract venerated by the Algonquins, pioneer Philemon Wright carves out the first farm from the towering bush, and launches the timber trade that fires the fledgling colony.
Famous figures abound as Upper and Lower Canada eye each other suspiciously across the tumultuous abyss. There are the builders: Billings, McKay, and Sparks. The timber barons: Gilmour, Bronson, and Eddy. Commanding Royal Engineer Lieutenant-Colonel John By rises above the rankling as he administers the growing town that bears his name and, against all odds, pushes his monumental canal through the dense, towering wilderness.
While British nabobs and tree-stump contrivers jostle for Queen Victoria's influence over the naming of a new capital, through his fictional character, backwoodsman Jed Jansen, Mulholland poignantly relates the pioneer's personal struggle to survive.
Historians have written much
about milestones like the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, the War of
1812, and the building of the transcontinental railway. The six decades
compellingly depicted in Chaudière Falls may not include
a precise, dramatic milestone, but it was those years that significantly
shaped our looming confederation. Credit to Mulholland for recognizing
the impact of a lost era, and for so adroitly putting it to pen.
Review: Author Wendy MacIntyre has reviewed Chaudière Falls. Excerpts:
"This dramatized history relates in gripping detail how a lawless lumber town became the civilized capital of the nation. The author's superb research brings to life the heartbreaking challenges faced by the men and women who founded Bytown, including Colonel John By, the determined engineer who built the Rideau Canal that was to become the region's military and economic lifeline."
"Mulholland takes us inside the sad plight of the Irish labourers on the Canal who undertook the backbreaking and dangerous labour of cutting through two miles of rock, at least sixty feet deep. We enter into their tragic and brief lives, marred by disease, crippling and often-fatal accidents, poverty and prejudice."
"Through his fictional protagonist, Jedediah Jansen, who from boyhood onward seeks emotional refuge on "his" rock overlooking the Chaudière Falls, Mulholland shows us the physical and emotional toll the lumber industry took on an individual. Jed's life is marked by risk, financial uncertainty, violence, and loss. The long, hard seasons in the bush tax his marriage, resulting in a tragic train of events, and his troubled quest for redemption."
Here's the link to the full review on my publisher's website: https://burnstownpublishing.com/product/chaudiere-falls-a-novel-of-dramatized-history/
MacIntyre is a writer in Carleton Place, Ontario. Her novels include
Mairi, The Applecross Spell, Apart, Lucia's Masks and, Hunting
Piero. Here's the link to her website: http://wendymacintyreauthor.ca/
Review: Ottawa Life Magazine's feature writer Joel Redekop has reviewed the novel. Excerpts:
"Chaudière Falls: A Novel of Dramatized History . . . is both an orthodox and atypical addition to the genre of historically-based fiction." "It is epic in scope . . ." "Ultimately, Chaudière Falls is a labour of love, a thoughtfully crafted history of a story not often told. While history is easy to mythologize, the novel's sober approach shows the author's remarkable eye for detail. For the history fiends who like fact to work in tandem with fiction, Chaudière Falls is a can't miss."
Here's the link to the full review: http://www.ottawalife.com/article/chaudiere-falls-a-novel-of-dramatized-history?c=18
Report: Here's the link to a comprehensive article by Inside the Ottawa Valley (Perth Courier edition) reporter Desmond Devoy following my December 6/17 appearance before the Probus Club of Perth: https://www.insideottawavalley.com/whatson-story/8005038-the-past-haunts-us-still-author-talks-about-past-decisions-shaping-today-s-canada/
Profile: Hometown News reporter and feature writer Jane Hobson has written a profile. Here's the link: http://www.hometownnews.ca/arnprior-raised-author-promotes-latest-novel-carleton-place/
Contentious Issue: The book's title has attracted members of both Free the Falls, who want the cataract dam removed and the falls and islands administered by the Algonquins, for whom it is sacred land, and a partner in Windmill, the company planning to develop the site for residential and commercial use. Other players include the city of Ottawa, the National Capital Commission, Hydro Ottawa, and the Algonquins of Ontario.
I am not taking a position on this controversial issue. However, when doing research for my novel, I discovered that the Algonquins living in the area in 1800 did not know that a tribe of Mississauga, who lived at Georgian Bay, had surrendered the land to the Crown. Under my Excerpts' tab, you can read about Philemon Wright's first encounter with the Algonquins. Most of the scene unfolds from the point-of-view of Jedediah Jansen, my main fictional character, who is ten years old at the time.
Website Feature: It is now de rigueur for companies to promote themselves through a website, but it's rare for a business to include a page featuring people such as myself who work at an artistic endeavour.
That, however, is what Nick Milito does on his website. Nick is the owner of Ideal Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning in Ottawa, Ontario. Assisted by his friend, Anil Balaram, his monthly newsletter includes just such a page, and in this year's (2017) February and March editions, yours truly is front and centre.
At Anil's request, I've written a synopsis of Chaudière Falls. You can read my introduction to the story, a very brief summary of what takes place in parts one, two and three, and a short biography by clicking here: https://www.idealcarpetcleaning.ca/chaudiere-falls-part-1/ The concluding summaries of the novel are posted here: https://www.idealcarpetcleaning.ca/chaudiere-falls-part-2/ If you're wondering whether or not this epic would interest you, reading the synopsis, which takes only a few minutes, should help you decide.
My thanks to Anil and Nick for featuring me.
A note to book clubs: I'm willing to attend discussions of my novels. It's a way for me to get input from people who don't feel obligated to be complimentary. If at least five club members purchase books, signed copies can be had at a saving of $5.25. Chaudière Falls retails for $35.00 + 5%HST ($36.75); so $31.50, no HST. McNab and DUEL retail for $19.95 + 5%HST ($20.95); so $15.75, no HST. I've attended discussions at a few clubs; there was no kicking and screaming. (I waited until I got home.) If your club is interested, please send an email and I'll get back to you. Thanks
A note to historical societies: I've put together a presentation entitled How Historical Fiction Complements the Historical Record. To support my hypothesis, I read short excerpts from McNab and DUEL, as well as draw upon the work of two other authors of historical fiction. The presentation is approximately 25 minutes in length, after which I usually spend some time answering questions. I'll also read excerpts from Chaudière Falls that demonstrate the breadth of the story. If your group would be interested in having me as a guest speaker, please send an email and I'll get back to you. Thanks
The Author's Journey: Every writer's journey to getting published is unique. I'm pleased to join fellow authors, Joelle Hubner-McLean (http://corvusandme.com/), Claudia Radmore (https://claudiaradmore.com/), and Sandra Nikolai (https://www.sandranikolai.com/) in describing the challenging road to bringing our creative efforts to appreciative readers. Libraries, book clubs, writers' groups, etc. Contact one of us to book our informative and entertaining panel. There's no fee. We'll have books on hand for anyone interested in purchasing a copy.
Trailer for McNab: I've joined the growing number of authors who have video trailers to promote their books. Chief Archibald McNab's Piper, Malcolm Kenneth MacGregor, is talking about my novel, McNab, on You Tube. Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rp7RBVIyjNQ
Readers' Reviews and Messages________________________________________________________________________________________
Ottawa author David Mulholland's latest novel, Chaudière Falls, is a gem of a book for readers who glory in dramatized history. He seamlessly meshes a romantic novel with a meticulously researched history of what was formerly known as Bytown, Wrightsville, Aylmer, New Edinburgh, and Billings Bridge.
The author fleshes out such historical figures as Philemon Wright, the American pioneer who founded Hull Township, Lieutenant-Colonel John By, the Commanding Royal Engineer in charge of building Ottawa's Rideau Canal, Bytown's primary land owner Nicholas Sparks, intrepid stonemason Thomas McKay, and Braddish Billings.
The reader learns about the hardships and perils of the Irish navvies whose labour built the canal, the lumbermen who hurled down mighty pine trees and built the rafts that transported them to market, the violence in Bytown by the Shiners, which surpassed the reputation of America's wild west, and the intense rivalry between the burgeoning towns of York/Toronto, Kingston, Bytown/Ottawa, Montréal, and Ville de Québec to become Canada's National Capital.
All in one enthralling story!
Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to write a comprehensive and insightful review. I very much appreciate it.
I just finished reading Chaudière Falls. It's certainly
a long novel, but I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish, and
I highly recommend it. It would have helped to have had a 19th century
map of what is now our National Capital Region to locate some of the
story. The chapters depicting the turbulent personal life of your main
fictional character and how he deals with the shenanigans of the timber
trade are a welcome contrast to all the political scheming. Well done!
I look forward to reading your next novel.
Thanks very much for taking the time to send me your thoughts on the story. I do appreciate it. The idea of including a map didn't occur to me, but, yes, it would have made a complementary addition to the text.
This is to let you know how much I appreciate your recent review of my book, Off in a Cloud of Heifer DustSome Ottawa Valley Yarns. It is the first review that I have received on any of the four books that I have had published, and it has really put a spring in my step. I hope you don't mind if I shop it around a bit.
I would like to talk to you. My number is (phone number removed).
You're most welcome. It was a pleasure to read. I'll be in touch.
Here's a link where you'll find information on all of Brent's books:
I just finished Chaudière Falls. I found it to be an intriguing portrayal of how truly difficult and dangerous life was in the 1800s in what is now our national capital. The characters---fictional and historical---come alive on the pages of the book. It's educational, but not pontificating. I learned a lot. Your detailed research really pays off. It's a great read! I certainly recommend it.
Norman K. Takeuchi
Thank you, Norman.
Your comments are very much appreciated.
Combining meticulous, historical research and fictionalized characterization, Chaudière Falls brings to life a significant pioneering period in the Ottawa Valley. It captures the events and daily lives of an era under appreciated in Canadian literature. The author is to be commended for cleverly assembling an engaging novel from very demanding research, and for succeeding in giving readers delightful insights into a past we still share today.
Thank you, Robert.
I very much appreciate your complimentary observations, and that you took the time to post them.
I'm interested in buying the book McNab; it has a bit of history for me.
When Chief McNab came to Canada, he brought with him James Storie, who was among the first 20 settlers to arrive on The Niagara with Laird McNab's group. That was the first shipload of twenty families in 1825. James was my great, great, great grandfather.
Thanks, Karen Kozak (email address removed)
Thanks for your interest. I'll get back to you.
I purchased your book McNab in Perth at the Christmas Craft Fair and put it in my stack of to-read books. I started reading it recently and did I ever enjoy it! You certainly know how to tell a story!
My ancestors came from Scotland and settled, first, in Glengarry, and then in Renfrew County because of free land grants. Although they were not under the McNab thumb, your story told their story, too, in many ways.
I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it, and I will keep it to read again.
Thanks very much for taking the time to post your comments; I do appreciate it. Glad you enjoyed the novel.
All the best,
I just finished reading McNab. Congratulations! What a delightful book. I could hardly put it down.
You state that it is fiction, but it sure rings of a true story. The Scottish dialect and accents with which you have imbued it is amazing. One can hear the voices in one's mind as if it was a live stage play or movie. What a great platform for a TV mini-series this would make.
I have ordered several more copies to offer as Christmas gifts.
Thank you for such a wonderful contribution to Canadian literature.
Thanks very much for your positive appraisal. Glad you enjoyed the story, and I really appreciate that you took the time to let me know what you thought of it. You've made my day!
I work at the Pembroke Public Library. I was wondering if you would be interested in doing a presentation here some time in the future? (email address removed)
Thank you for your time and consideration of this matter.
Have a great day.
Thanks for the invitation, Janet. Yes, certainly! I'll be in touch.
I read both McNab and DUEL.
Your use of the Scottish dialect in McNab made the story more authentic. And I could see so clearly some of the places you mention because I remember them from when I lived in Arnprior. Showing what life was like in Scotland in the 19th century also added to the story. Living was really hard back then.
The blacksmith in DUEL made me really mad! He seemed honest enough in his business dealings, but a liar and conniver in his personal relationships. I was enraged by his despicable behaviour! He should have been man enough to take responsibility. His letters to Mary echo throughout the story. I was angry when I finished the book because of what happened to Lyon.
I thought both books were well written, and I look forward to your next one.
Thanks for your interesting appraisal of both novels.
I talked to the author at the Ploughing Match, and was promised a
good read. Well, it certainly was! I enjoyed the book from beginning
Thanks very much. Glad you enjoyed the story. But I'm wondering which novel you read: McNab or DUEL?
When I met you at the Perth Museum, where the high school history class were screening their historical documentaries on Perth, I was intrigued when you said your book was based upon a document written by a blacksmith some 50 years after the duel between Lyon and Wilson.
Having read it, I see that both your book and my documentary, Daniel's Journey: History Rewritten, deal with the question: what is truth? Especially in history! Commonly held historical beliefs might be altered, or completely shattered, when a new document comes to light. How then do we deal with the historical record? How is history rewritten?
I became more curious when told at the Booknook in Perth that feedback from readers said they found your book a little risqué. How can a book about a fatal duel be risqué?
I knew a bit about the duel itself, and many of the characters described in your book, but you provide details about the life and times in early Perth that brought the characters of Rev. Bell, Matheson, and the other players of the time back to life.
I found your premise-the newly discovered document-the most interesting part of the story. How did such a document come to light? Is it real? The photos in the book of a few pages of the blacksmith's letter . . . ah, but you leave it up to the reader to form any final opinions about that letter. I found the story quite fascinating, a good read, and, in some ways, a parallel to the story line in my documentary. You give us a feel for what life was like in Perth at that time. Was it risqué? In early puritanical Perth, could anything be risqué? I'll leave it up to your readers to form their own opinions on that.
Well done, David!
Thanks for your insightful comments, Hugh.
The link to Hugh's website on Daniel Daverne is under my Links tab.
I enjoyed reading the material on your website. Some of your ideas, and the comments of others, gave me a real nudge to look into the fascinating world of historical fiction. I always thought historical fiction was just fiction built into a certain era. I did not realize the work was based on facts, happenings, and people of a certain era. Thank you for your insight. It's exciting to start on a new adventure.
Thanks for your comments. Hope you enjoy many more novels of historical fiction..
I found DUEL interesting. The blacksmith's description of small town gossip and rivalries gave me a look into what it was like to live in a small town at that time. The hand-written examples of his essay were a nice touch. His complaints about his arthritis giving him problems writing the report added credibility to the story. The references to Richmond Road and his staying at the hotel in Bytown were fun to read, and gave the story a sense of local history.
The name change for Rideau Ferry from the original name was interesting. The description of the public hanging was informative. I did not realize that a person was hanged from anything other than a gallows. This hanging from a garret was quite gruesome. The large crowds and festive atmosphere made it all the more bizarre. They didn't have much entertainment in small towns in those days.
Thanks for your insightful observations, Moe.
Thanks for writing the book, David.
My Name is Dan Wilson; John Wilson was my great, great grandfather.
We have this documented in our family bible, but I'm looking forward
to reading a different take on that part of his life
For others who may be reading your post, you're referring to my novel, DUEL, which is based upon the duel between your great, great grandfather and Robert Lyon that took place in Perth, Upper Canada (Ontario), on June 13, 1833.
Hope you enjoy the story.
Thanks for writing,
It was a joy to read David Mulholland's latest novel, DUEL . While the account of the events leading up to and including the duel are fascinating, what really appealed to me was the way in which the writer of the report (aka Mulholland???) fought to remember the details surrounding the event some 50 years later, and the charming way in which he expressed those thoughts. As he relates his remembrances of events, his thoughts twist and turn and sometimes go off at interesting tangents.
The novel affords us some interesting and compelling insights into rural life in the 1800's, and includes some insights into relationships between young folk at the time that are sure to evoke memories in those of us living many years later.
This is a very good read, and I highly recommend it.
(Dr.) John Jones
Thanks, John. I appreciate your observations.
I've often visited Perth, but your novel DUEL made me see the town in a whole new light. I got a real sense of what day-to-day life was like for Perth residents in the 1830s: a hotbed of gossip and a place very much under the sway of the moralizing Presbyterian minister.
DUEL is also a wonderful exploration of how jealousy can drive a thwarted lover to extreme and fatal action. The book offers an intriguing look at the complex emotional and social dynamics that resulted in Canada's famous "last duel."
Thanks for your comments, Wendy.
Great book (DUEL) again, David.
I don't know how you do it. You truly bring to light the Puritan angst of the period.
We are very pleased that you are coming to the Scottish Festival.
When I contacted you about coming, I forgot to find out if you needed to have a tent provided, or if you have your own tent. Could you please call us to let us know what you require.
Wonderful that you are going to sign copies of your novels that day.
Boyd MacLaren, co-chair, Scottish Festival (phone number removed)
I'll be in touch.
I am organizing an Arts in the Park event in Stittsville for June 1. We'd love to have you visit, read, sign. If you would like more info, let me know. Look's like a great day!
(e-mail and phone # removed)
Thanks for the invitation. I'll be in touch.
Dear Mr. Mulholland,
My name is Leslie Richardson and I am the treasurer for the Huntley Township Historical Society.
We were wondering if you would consider giving a presentation to our society on any of the following dates: April 15, May 20, or in October.
I can be reached by email at (e-mail address removed).
Thanks for the invitation. I'll be in touch.
I read DUEL a few months ago, and I enjoyed reading a novel set in Perth. I teach a Local History course (we study Perth) at Perth and District Collegiate Institute, and I would like to extend an invitation for you to come to my class and speak about the duel and about how you did the research for your novel. I would very much enjoy having you speak to the students. I do hope that this is something you will consider doing. Thank you for your consideration of my request.
I'd be happy to speak to your students. I'll be in touch by email.
DUEL was an excellent read!
David Mulholland has a way of turning a phrase, and also the ability to almost give out tidbits of information and then pull them back. The pages turned faster than I wanted them to, and I was sorry when I reached the last page.
Both DUEL and McNab brought history to life, and the colourful characters are great!
Glenda Ferguson Tippins