100 books like Broken Ground

By Jack Hodgins,

Here are 100 books that Broken Ground fans have personally recommended if you like Broken Ground. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Stone Angel

Lynne Bowen Author Of Whoever Gives Us Bread: The Story of Italians in British Columbia

From my list on revealing the hidden history of Western Canada.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young person I loved to read history novels, but each book had to be about either British monarchs or American generals. Then I watched the movie Bye Bye Blues, a Canadian prairie story by Anne Wheeler, and realized for the first time that the story was about me, about us. It was such a heady feeling that I decided to study Western Canadian history at university. Three weeks after I got my M.A. from the University of Victoria I was offered the chance to write about Vancouver Island coal miners and the rest, as they say, is quite literally history.

Lynne's book list on revealing the hidden history of Western Canada

Lynne Bowen Why did Lynne love this book?

Who would have thought that a novel about a ninety-year-old woman determined to avoid being put into a nursing home would become required reading for high school and university students? And yet this novel has been listed by several sources as one of the greatest Canadian novels ever written. Laurence’s writing style inspired me and gave me the assurance to write about Western Canadian history. It demonstrates one of the reasons why Laurence was named posthumously as “A Person of National Historic Significance” by the Canadian government in 2018.

By Margaret Laurence,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Stone Angel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Above the town, on the hill brow, the stone angel used to stand. I wonder if she stands there yet...

Hagar Shipley - an irascible, independent nonagenarian - has lived a quiet life full of rage. As she approaches her death, she retreats from the squabbling of her son and his wife to reflect on her past - her ill-advised marriage, her two sons, the harshness of farm life on the prairie, her own failures and the betrayals and failures of others.


Book cover of The West Beyond the West: A History of British Columbia

Lynne Bowen Author Of Whoever Gives Us Bread: The Story of Italians in British Columbia

From my list on revealing the hidden history of Western Canada.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young person I loved to read history novels, but each book had to be about either British monarchs or American generals. Then I watched the movie Bye Bye Blues, a Canadian prairie story by Anne Wheeler, and realized for the first time that the story was about me, about us. It was such a heady feeling that I decided to study Western Canadian history at university. Three weeks after I got my M.A. from the University of Victoria I was offered the chance to write about Vancouver Island coal miners and the rest, as they say, is quite literally history.

Lynne's book list on revealing the hidden history of Western Canada

Lynne Bowen Why did Lynne love this book?

A mule-drawn wagon train moves precariously along a narrow road carved out of a steep rock wall—this book lives up to the promise of its cover. The book jacket blurb entices lovers of history like me: “British Columbia is regularly described in superlatives both positive and negative—the most spectacular scenery, the strangest political campaigns, the mildest winters, the most rain, the most aggressive resource developers, the biggest peace and environmental movements, the closest Canadian ties to Japan and China, and the richest native culture.” The author, Jean Barman, is one of my mentors and an inspiration to everyone who is interested in British Columbia history.

By Jean Barman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The West Beyond the West as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

British Columbia is regularly described in superlatives both positive and negative - most spectacular scenery, strangest politics, greatest environmental sensitivity, richest Aboriginal cultures, most aggressive resource exploitation, closest ties to Asia. Jean Barman's The West beyond the West presents the history of the province in all its diversity and apparent contradictions. This critically acclaimed work is the premiere book on British Columbian history, with a narrative beginning at the point of contact between Native peoples and Europeans and continuing into the twenty-first century. Barman tells the story by focusing not only on the history made by leaders in government but…


Book cover of The Englishman's Boy: A Novel

Lynne Bowen Author Of Whoever Gives Us Bread: The Story of Italians in British Columbia

From my list on revealing the hidden history of Western Canada.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young person I loved to read history novels, but each book had to be about either British monarchs or American generals. Then I watched the movie Bye Bye Blues, a Canadian prairie story by Anne Wheeler, and realized for the first time that the story was about me, about us. It was such a heady feeling that I decided to study Western Canadian history at university. Three weeks after I got my M.A. from the University of Victoria I was offered the chance to write about Vancouver Island coal miners and the rest, as they say, is quite literally history.

Lynne's book list on revealing the hidden history of Western Canada

Lynne Bowen Why did Lynne love this book?

I love a book that weaves fiction into historical events. The Cypress Hills are on the Canadian side of the international border where it cuts through the North American central plain. This was a gathering place for First Nations and Metis people, but the area also attracted American whisky traders and wolf hunters. The reasons for the massacre that occurred in 1873 are disputed, but fifty years later, the last living survivor, by then a grizzled bit player in Hollywood, tells his story to a young screenwriter.

By Guy Vanderhaeghe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Englishman's Boy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Governor General's Award

Counterpointing the stories of the legendary Western cowboy Shorty McAdoo and Harry Vincent, the ambitious young screenwriter commissioned to retell his story in 1920s Hollywood, this novel reconstructs an epic journey through Montana into the Canadian plains, by a group of men pursuing their stolen horses.

The Englishman's Boy intelligently and creatively depicts an American West where greed and deception are tempered by honor and strength. As Richard Ford has noted, "Vanderhaeghe is simply a wonderful writer. The Englishman's Boy, spanning as it does two countries, two centuries, two views of history―the Canadian Wild…


Book cover of The Dunsmuir Saga

Lynne Bowen Author Of Whoever Gives Us Bread: The Story of Italians in British Columbia

From my list on revealing the hidden history of Western Canada.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young person I loved to read history novels, but each book had to be about either British monarchs or American generals. Then I watched the movie Bye Bye Blues, a Canadian prairie story by Anne Wheeler, and realized for the first time that the story was about me, about us. It was such a heady feeling that I decided to study Western Canadian history at university. Three weeks after I got my M.A. from the University of Victoria I was offered the chance to write about Vancouver Island coal miners and the rest, as they say, is quite literally history.

Lynne's book list on revealing the hidden history of Western Canada

Lynne Bowen Why did Lynne love this book?

The late Terry Reksten, a researcher par excellence, spent much of her career writing about Robert Dunsmuir, a former indentured coal miner who became the richest man in British Columbia, and his descendants. Terry devoted most of this book to the building of Craigdarroch Castle and to the way Dunsmuir’s children and grandchildren spent his fortune, but it complements the coal mining books I have written that tell the stories of the men who dug the coal that built that fortune.

By Terry Reksten,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dunsmuir Saga as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Dunsmuir Saga brings to life three generations of the legendary Dunsmuir family of Vancouver Island.

Robert Dunsmuir -- canny, acquisitive and imaginative -- became the richest man in British Columbia; his sons struggled to consolidate the family fortune; his grandchildren spent it. Award-winning author Terry Reksten brings the members of the Dunsmuir family and their colourful saga to life with her lively writing, vivid anecdotes and careful research. A selection of 50 historical photographs depicts the Dunsmuirs and their grand style of life.


Book cover of The Wrong Words

Joan Havelange Author Of Wayward Shot

From my list on whodunits where you can never guess the ending.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write whodunits because I love a good mystery and a good puzzle. I like giving clues out to the reader, sometimes red herrings, sometimes not. Three of my mysteries are set in a fictional little town in the Canadian prairies. I like showing the readers rural life with humour and mystery. Two of my mysteries are set in foreign countries I have visited. One takes place in Egypt. The other takes place on a bus tour of the Nordic countries and ends up in Moscow. I like the challenge of showing the readers the sights and the feel of the country without making the book a travel log. 

Joan's book list on whodunits where you can never guess the ending

Joan Havelange Why did Joan love this book?

Yvonne Rediger’s The Wrong Words is set on beautiful Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada. The Wrong Words is a page-turning cozy mystery with all the proper investigative procedures. Adam Norcross, the main protagonist, is a man with a mysterious past. I liked how he and the female cop Bethany Leith worked together. Sometimes the male lead overpowers the female lead. But not in this story. And I didn’t guess whodunit; when that happens, that is the best.

By Yvonne Rediger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wrong Words as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Adam Norcross is not in a good place. He recently buried his mother and now he needs something more than a power struggle between him and his mother’s cat to distract him from his grief. That something comes in the form of an assignment from his boss, Walter Shapiro, who is not a patient man. Not surprising since he reports directly to the prime minister. Shapiro interrupts Norcross’ bereavement leave to give him an assignment. Norcross’ task is to find out how the country’s most eminent climate scientist ended up dead off the highway in a mountain ravine. Was it…


Book cover of The Making of the Mosaic: A History of Canadian Immigration Policy

Valerie Knowles Author Of Strangers at Our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, 1540-2015

From my list on capturing Canada’s colourful immigration history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Canadian freelance writer, who has a BA in honours history from Smith College, an MA in history from McGill University, and a Bachelor in Journalism from Carleton University. As I have a special interest in Canadian history and Canadian biography, I have authored books in these subject areas. These include an award-winning biography of Sir William Van Horne, a polymath and railway general who pushed through the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and Cairine Wilson. Canada’s first woman senator, who was celebrated for her work with refugees in the 1930s and 1940s, and a best-selling survey of Canadian immigration and immigration policy, Strangers At Our Gates.

Valerie's book list on capturing Canada’s colourful immigration history

Valerie Knowles Why did Valerie love this book?

Canadian immigration policy has always been a subject of fierce political and public debate and in this authoritative work Ninette Kelley and Michael Trebilcock examine the interests, ideas, institutions, and rhetoric that have shaped it. The authors begin their study in the pre-Confederation period and interpret major developments in the evolution of Canadian immigration policy. Among the shameful episodes they describe are the deportations of the First World War and Great Depression and the uprooting and internment of Japanese Canadians after Pearl Harbour.

By Ninette Kelley, Michael Trebilcock,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Making of the Mosaic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Immigration policy is a subject of intense political and public debate. In this second edition of the widely recognized and authoritative work The Making of the Mosaic, Ninette Kelley and Michael Trebilcock have thoroughly revised and updated their examination of the ideas, interests, institutions, and rhetoric that have shaped Canada's immigration history. Beginning their study in the pre-Confederation period, the authors interpret major episodes in the evolution of Canadian immigration policy, including the massive deportations of the First World War and Depression eras as well as the Japanese-Canadian internment camps during World War Two. New chapters provide perspective on immigration…


Book cover of The Feeling of Greatness: The Moe Norman Story

Andrew Stelmack Author Of Send in the Clown

From my list on what sets the greatest golfers apart.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a very successful professional stage actor and visual artist I have learned that perfection is boring. A person or thing without flaws loses my interest very quickly. There's nothing more boring for an actor to play than someone who does no wrong. Since I have so much experience in putting myself in another person’s shoes with my acting and finding different ways to express emotion in my art, I find great pleasure in finding the flawed people in the world and telling their emotional stories. Their challenges, their obstacles and their success and failures – both self-imposed and that which is thrust upon them by society.

Andrew's book list on what sets the greatest golfers apart

Andrew Stelmack Why did Andrew love this book?

The other factual book out there on Moe that provides insight into the man and his world. In addition to the stories of Moe, you also get clippings and photos that add to its delight. A wonderful look at his life and career and most importantly you hopefully walk away having learned something not only about him specifically, but about the complexities of his world.

By Tim O'Connor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Feeling of Greatness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the award-winning journalist and coach: a biography of “the ‘Rain Man’ of golf. It’s a character drama. It’s an underdog story” (Barry Morrow, Academy Award–winning screenwriter).

Documentary now in production!

In The Feeling of Greatness, second edition, golf coach Tim O’Connor updates his previous biography of the late great, Canadian golfer Moe Norman, who was famous for introducing the single plane golf swing. This edition includes new anecdotes about Moe both on and off the course by golfers, journalists, friends, and family, and offers a more in-depth portrait of the man and golfer, especially in the last years of…


Book cover of All We Left Behind

Terrie Todd Author Of Rose Among Thornes

From my list on relationships between characters on opposing sides of WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Canadian author and I set my novels here. When I first attempted to write a book, I chose historical fiction because I thought it would be easier to get my characters into trouble—without cell phones and other modern conveniences to bail them out. I wasn’t wrong. However, the research involved with writing good historical fiction soon gave me a whole new appreciation for the genre and I was hooked. I find the WWII era far enough in the past to provide historical insight into humanity’s many weaknesses and strengths, yet near enough to make it relatable. I’ve been thrilled with the feedback on my faith-based stories.

Terrie's book list on relationships between characters on opposing sides of WWII

Terrie Todd Why did Terrie love this book?

Of all my choices, this book is the most like mine in that it involves a Japanese-Canadian family removed from their home in British Columbia and forced into an internment camp during WWII. Hayden and Chidori are in love. But after the attacks on Pearl Harbor, Chidori and her family are seen as the enemy. Longing more than anything to help them, Hayden joins the Royal Canadian Air Force believing it’s the swiftest way to bring the war to an end. Thoughts of Chidori are all that keep him alive. You’ll learn so much history as you absorb this story and cheer for its valiant characters.

By Danielle R. Graham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All We Left Behind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz

'Heart-wrenching. Emotional. A powerful story of wartime love and devotion' Glynis Peters, author of The Secret Orphan

A powerful and incredibly moving historical novel inspired by an untold story of the Second World War.

Vancouver 1941

As the war rages around the world, Hitler's fury is yet to be felt on the peaceful shores of Mayne Island. Sweethearts Hayden and Chidori are in love.

But everything changes after Pearl Harbor.

Now seen as the enemy, Chidori and her family are forced into an internment camp. Powerless to help them, Hayden joins the air…


Book cover of The Little Immigrants: The Orphans Who Came to Canada

Valerie Knowles Author Of Strangers at Our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, 1540-2015

From my list on capturing Canada’s colourful immigration history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Canadian freelance writer, who has a BA in honours history from Smith College, an MA in history from McGill University, and a Bachelor in Journalism from Carleton University. As I have a special interest in Canadian history and Canadian biography, I have authored books in these subject areas. These include an award-winning biography of Sir William Van Horne, a polymath and railway general who pushed through the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and Cairine Wilson. Canada’s first woman senator, who was celebrated for her work with refugees in the 1930s and 1940s, and a best-selling survey of Canadian immigration and immigration policy, Strangers At Our Gates.

Valerie's book list on capturing Canada’s colourful immigration history

Valerie Knowles Why did Valerie love this book?

Journalist, author, and retired United Church minister, Kenneth Bagnell has written a vivid account of the thousands of slum children (not all of them were orphans) who were dispatched to Canada from 1869 to the late 1930s by well-meaning philanthropists, philanthropic rescue homes, and parish workhouse schools. At the time, this seemed to be the ideal solution to a two-pronged problem: what to do with the tens of thousands of children from the slums of Britain who faced a bleak future there and how to meet the soaring demand for cheap labour on Canadian farms.

By Kenneth Bagnell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Little Immigrants as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Little Immigrants is a tale of compassion and courage and a vivid account of a deep and moving part of Canadian heritage. In the early years after Confederation, the rising nation needed workers that could take advantage of the abundant resources. Until the time of the Depression, 100,000 impoverished children from the British Isles were sent overseas by well-meaning philanthropists to solve the colony's farm-labour shortage.

They were known as the "home children," and they were lonely and frightened youngsters to whom a new life in Canada meant only hardship and abuse. This is an extraordinary but almost forgotten…


Book cover of The List of Last Chances

Cookie Boyle Author Of Entitled: Life isn't easy when you're a book

From my list on a unique narrator perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Canadian author who has been fascinated with how others see the world since I was a child. I was captivated by Charlotte’s Web. If pigs and spiders could be having unheard conversations, what else was I missing? I delight in stories that invite me into the distinct world of the narrator, so it’s no surprise that my novel, Entitled, is written from a unique perspective—that of a book. When done well, these stories let us see life through the eyes of someone else. If we all experienced our surroundings, just for a minute, as others did, perhaps there would be more humanity in this world. 

Cookie's book list on a unique narrator perspective

Cookie Boyle Why did Cookie love this book?

A road trip provides a reliable narrative structure. But what makes each journey distinct is what the travellers see, do and learn along the way. This charming, funny book follows Ruthie, a recently single, down-on-her-luck 38-year-old as she accompanies Kay (70s) across Canada from Prince Edward Island to Vancouver, where Kay’s son wishes her to relocate. Kay doesn’t want to move, but if she is going to Vancouver, she has a list of ‘last chances’ for her and Ruthie to experience along the way. And thus an improbable friendship begins. Told from Ruthie’s perspective, this book reminded me of how much there is to discover on a road trip—the places we see, the people we meet along the way, and the person the journey inspires us to become. 

By Christina Myers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The List of Last Chances as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At thirty-eight years old, Ruthie finds herself newly unemployed, freshly single, sleeping on a friend’s couch and downing a bottle of wine each night. Having overstayed her welcome and desperate for a job, Ruthie responds to David’s ad: he’s looking for someone to drive his aging mother, Kay, and her belongings from PEI to Vancouver. Ruthie thinks it’s the perfect chance for a brief escape and a much-needed boost for her empty bank account. But once they’re on the road, Kay reveals that she’s got a list of stops along the way that’s equal parts sightseeing tour, sexual bucket-list, and…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Canada, World War 1, and Vancouver Canada?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Canada, World War 1, and Vancouver Canada.

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