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The Chief Factor's Daughter by Vanessa Winn
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The Chief Factor's Daughter (edition 2010)

by Vanessa Winn (Author)

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1321,256,705 (4)9
Chief factor: In the Hudson's Bay Company fur-trade monopoly, the title of chief factor was the highest rank given to commissioned officers, who were responsible for a major trading post and its surrounding district. Colonial Victoria in 1858 is an unruly mix of rowdy gold seekers and hustling immigrants caught in the upheaval of the fur trade giving way to the gold rush. Chief Factor John Work, an elite of the Hudson's Bay Company fur trade and husband to a country-born wife, forbids his daughters to go into the formerly quiet Fort Victoria, to protect them from its burgeoning transient population. Margaret, the eldest daughter, chafes at her father's restrictions and worries that, at 23, she is fated to be a spinster. Born of a British father and Métis mother, Margaret and her sisters belong to the upper class of the fur-trade community, though they become targets of snobbery and racism from the new settlers. But dashing naval officers and Royal Engineers still host parties and balls, and Margaret and her sisters attend, dressed in the fashionable gowns they order from England. As happens the world over, these cultural tensions lead to love and romance. An elegant recreation of real events and people, The Chief Factor's Daughter takes readers inside a now-vanished society, much like Pride and Prejudice. Margaret Work, with her aspirations, hopes and dreams, is a recognizable and thoroughly appealing heroine.… (more)
Member:Tania57
Title:The Chief Factor's Daughter
Authors:Vanessa Winn (Author)
Info:TouchWood Editions (2010), 288 pages
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The Chief Factor's Daughter by Vanessa Winn

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I am a great fan of Jane Austen, and the writer of this book successfully managed to write our local history in a Jane Austen style. It is a very pleasurable read.
  nancymanderson | Dec 16, 2012 |
Winn's novel set in historic Victoria, British Columbia is a book I gravitated to and it did not disappoint. The time period of the story - 1858 to 1861 - is when the village of Victoria saw drastic population growth and development: Vancouver Island had been declared a British Colony less than 10 years previously and had recently elected their first House of Assembly, The discovery of gold in 1857 on the mainland had lead to the Fraser Gold Rush, and New Caledonia was proclaimed as the Colony of British Columbia on August, 1858.

Against this historical backdrop, the story follows Margaret Work, her sisters and other prominent families of Fort Victoria as they attend parties, balls and assembly rooms hosted by British naval officers and royal engineers far removed from English society. Margaret, in her mid-20's and still unwed, wonders if she is facing a possible life of spinsterhood, but is also concerned at the societal changes that she witnesses occurring around her. Her mixed British-Metis heritage is suddenly a target of elitist snobbery even though her father, John Work, is the Chief Factor of the colony for the Hudson's Bay Company.

Winn has crafted a highly readable and enjoyable recreation of the people and events that have shaped Victoria and British Columbia's history. While having a detailed understanding of the people and events made me savor the book, it can be read on its own without understanding the history it depicts..... knowing the history, in my opinion, enhances the experience. ( )
3 vote lkernagh | May 10, 2010 |
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Historically speaking, the most interesting bits are the segments from personal journals and other research materials, as well as the Victoria Colonist. These segments serve as a lead up for the chapter, and delicious tidbits of a life that is hard to really imagine. It certainly gives a new appreciation to the modern city of Victoria.
 
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Chief factor: In the Hudson's Bay Company fur-trade monopoly, the title of chief factor was the highest rank given to commissioned officers, who were responsible for a major trading post and its surrounding district. Colonial Victoria in 1858 is an unruly mix of rowdy gold seekers and hustling immigrants caught in the upheaval of the fur trade giving way to the gold rush. Chief Factor John Work, an elite of the Hudson's Bay Company fur trade and husband to a country-born wife, forbids his daughters to go into the formerly quiet Fort Victoria, to protect them from its burgeoning transient population. Margaret, the eldest daughter, chafes at her father's restrictions and worries that, at 23, she is fated to be a spinster. Born of a British father and Métis mother, Margaret and her sisters belong to the upper class of the fur-trade community, though they become targets of snobbery and racism from the new settlers. But dashing naval officers and Royal Engineers still host parties and balls, and Margaret and her sisters attend, dressed in the fashionable gowns they order from England. As happens the world over, these cultural tensions lead to love and romance. An elegant recreation of real events and people, The Chief Factor's Daughter takes readers inside a now-vanished society, much like Pride and Prejudice. Margaret Work, with her aspirations, hopes and dreams, is a recognizable and thoroughly appealing heroine.

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