Work Title: Terror at Turtle Mountain
Work Author(s): Penny Draper
5 b/w photographs, 166 pages, Softcover $7.95
Reviewer: Julie Falkner
Early on an April morning in 1903, the mountain moved. During its ninety-second shake, Turtle Mountain sent ninety million tons of limestone roaring into the valley below, the site of a small Canadian mining town. Miners were trapped underground and entire families were buried in what remains Canada's worst rock-slide disaster.
As this novel opens, Nathalie is preparing for just another day on milk duty. A typical school day ensues, with the usual tasks of practising penmanship, trying to master the feather stitch, and a little storytelling. After school and before chores, there's time for a creation myth as her friend Andy tells the Blackfoot tale of "Napi and the Spirit Wife." And through all this activity, Nathalie keeps her secret buried deep. No one need know that her self-esteem is almost non-existent because of her grandfather's unloving attitude: "no matter how hard she tried, she was still that child. The disappointment."
Lying awake that night, anticipating her cousin Helena's visit, Nathalie hears a thunderous roar. But it's not thunder: "It felt like some great ogre was rearing up within the mountain and breaking through the top, hurling monstrous chunks of limestone angrily down into the valley." Nathalie's home is spared but many others are destroyed, and she must somehow find the strength to join in the dark and depressing search for survivors.
This is the author's first novel...