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At FriesenPress, we celebrate each and every book we help our authors publish. Here are some of our team’s recent favourites – happy reading!
After the death of their British-born Grandma Gladys in 2021, siblings Claudia and Lance took a sudden interest in the Canadian fiancé Gladys lost during World War II, Wendell “Del” Pierce Drew, a member of the elite RAF Pathfinder Force with Bomber Command who hailed from the tiny farming settlement of Radisson, Saskatchewan. With a couple of old photos and a few anecdotes to go on, the siblings set out to uncover Del’s story, discovering a rich history of people searching for adventure or a better life. From the Canadian prairie to London’s Notting Hill, to the shores of the North Sea and beyond, Following the Echoes uncovers stories obscured by the passage of time and reflects on the ripple effect that the pulling of literal and metaphorical triggers can have on our lives. Exploring the theme of grief, the book recounts an incredible event in Gladys’s life, when her grief over Del suddenly and dramatically resurfaced one day in 1993—forty-nine years after his death—as well as the story of Del’s parents, Albert and Achsah Drew, revealing how they experienced unfathomable loss long before losing their son in the war. This is the first book to examine in depth the fate of Lancaster JB707, which Del and his crewmates were aboard when they disappeared in July 1944, piecing together the events of the last sortie. The reader is taken along the crew’s final moments, even learning who likely pulled the fateful trigger that led to their demise. Finally, the siblings describe how “following the echoes” of incredible coincidences and connections led them to a place of deep awe and admiration, as well as profound gratitude, especially for those in Bomber Command. This is a poignant story of love and loss but also one of a legacy extending into the present, uniting families, friends, and fellow citizens through exploring the richness and tragedy in the lives of those who built Canada into a great nation, and how the Greatest Generation sacrificed to preserve it—lest we forget.
"...the plotline is meticulous and engrossing, and the characters are intricately crafted...” — Literary Titan It is 1001 Anno Rex, and the emperor of the Empire of Kristianborg, the tyrannical Severus Valentinian, has been assassinated. Severus leaves behind four sons, each born by a different queen consort—but without declaring an heir before his death, the throne lies vacant. Zeno, Andronikos, Leo, and Commodus all covet the illustrious title of emperor. However, they will need the support of the Council of Archons and the power of the Yeneceri army—the most prominent, most formidable soldiers in the dominion—to obtain it. Zeno’s mother, Eleonora Ulrika, who climbed the ranks from a woman of lesser nobility to a powerful consort, uses all her wit, charm, and appeal to gain support for her son. She has spent years guiding him to become a competent warrior and military leader, especially for this very moment. However, the other queen consorts are no delicate flowers, and each wants her son on the throne. Battles, murder, bribes, and treachery ensue as each vies for the pinnacle of power. Yet against this backdrop of politics, war, and a fight for the throne lies something more sinister, something more threatening, something no one empire of men can hold back. . . . A tale of politics, intrigue, war, and lust, Year of the Four Emperors sets the stage for the forthcoming books in The Grand Duchess series.
Every child is different. Sometimes, we need reminding of how beautiful that difference can be! We all need to show kindness and patience for everyone in our lives, especially children who learn differently. This sweet book, told in verse, is full of reminders for children to be kind to each other, and to think about the ways we’re all different from one another. It talks about everything from learning about colours and emotions to finding safety and friendship with the people close to us. We all deserve to be respected and accepted as we walk through our lives. Not everyone is just like us, and we have to care for and help those around us whenever we can!
In Fifty Years from the Basement to the Second Floor, Tom Colbert, former chief of justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, shares his extraordinary life story—a story of resilience, determination, and hope. From his great-great grandmother who, though born into slavery, lived to be over 100 years old to his great grandfather who fought to be enrolled as a member of Creek Tribal Nation to his grandfather who walked over a mile home after being shot in the chest, never giving up no matter how hard the journey was instilled into Tom at a very young age. Born on December 30, 1949, Tom was raised by his mother and grandparents in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, when segregation laws were in effect. In fact, a few days after Tom was born, Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher had just started her second semester as a law student at the University of Oklahoma Law School after fighting for three years to be admitted there, refusing to attend the makeshift “Black-only” law school set up in the basement of the State Capitol. Though racial segregation was deemed unconstitutional in 1954, integration was intentionally delayed in Tom’s town, and he didn’t attend an integrated school until the fall of 1965. Although some teachers at his high school were welcoming, many staff and students were not, and Tom and his friends experienced racism, bigotry, and hatred, despite being star athletes and diligent students. Though he grew up in poverty and a world entrenched in systemic racism as well as dealt with family tragedies, Tom beat impossible odds, proving the naysayers of his youth wrong. He not only worked hard and became an outstanding lawyer, but reached the pinnacle of judiciary—and became the first Black man in Oklahoma to do so. Just like Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher, Tom refused the “basement,” and that noble resistance led him all the way to the second floor of the Oklahoma State Capitol.
Beneath the Basque Beret chronicles the life of Santiago Echeverría, a Basque Resistance fighter who dreams of democratic independence for his homeland. When his father is executed by a fascist colonel, Santiago and his brother, Miguel, avenge his death. Pursued by Franco’s military, the brothers make a daring escape to France. But just when it looks like their fortunes are changing, they are tracked down by the French gendarmes. Through a network of Basque sympathizers, Santiago escapes in a ship to Canada, hides out at a logging camp in northern Québec and eventually settles in Montréal. When the Spanish Civil War ends and Franco seizes power, Santiago learns that the ruthless dictator is continuing the genocide of thousands of Basques that began with the sadistic bombing of Guernica by Hitler’s Airforce. Santiago returns to Spain planning to assassinate his father’s killer and to join a growing underground movement to stop the mass executions and oppression. He had always been taught that it was better to die on your feet than to live on your knees. But as he and his comrades begin to close in on Franco himself, they may in fact be bringing themselves even closer to the garotte, fearing neither torture nor death.
In The Darkness: Part I, (the sequel to the first book of the Noah’s Story series, The Prophecy), Noah Oradonald reunites with his family only to face a new and more sinister threat. The Darkness has descended upon them, tearing apart the eight Saviors from their loved ones and bringing them to the Realm of the Darkest Souls. Here, they come face-to-face with seven of the eight Souls on the verge of entering four terrible phases: The Darkness of Fates, Separation, Hope, and Saving. Meanwhile, a familiar face from the past resurfaces, adding to the already complex storyline. Joey Jabolin, who lost his parents in 2006 then put into the foster-care system, must confront the consequences of his troubled upbringing. Charlie Waskesiu wakes up in 2012 with his memories of Juan intact but now must come to terms with his repressed sexuality and his abusive father. And as the Cadman Royal Family deal with the loss of Noah, Natalie, and Dream, they all mysteriously disappear, leaving Iain, Neal, Carter, and Tosia to govern the kingdom. Readers will be swept up in a thrilling tale of magic, family, and the battle between good and evil. With richly drawn characters and a gripping plot that never lets up, the book is sure to please fans of all ages who love magical reality. Full of unexpected twists and turns, The Darkness: Part I is a page-turner that will leave readers clamoring for more. The Noah’s Story series was inspired by the ABC Studios television series, Once Upon a Time that aired for seven seasons from 2011 to 2018.
A survival story and celebration of one woman’s life, My Mother's Legacy is also a glimpse of the spirit, culture, and history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. From life on the trapline in the Far North to meeting the Pope at the Vatican, this is Angie Mercredi-Crerar’s journey of perseverance and triumph—as told by her daughter. Angie's happy and loving childhood in Fort Resolution (Deninu Kue, “moose island place”), Northwest Territories, is vividly reimagined and contrasted with the atrocity of her time in residential school, when Indigenous children were forcibly taken from their families and isolated in remote institutions. But Angie survives and thrives as a renowned Métis Elder in Alberta, dedicated to making a difference for the Métis and meeting with Pope Francis as part of a delegation seeking an apology and restitution for the Catholic Church’s role in Canada’s residential school system. Through her mother’s story, author Bonita Nowell forges a connection with family, ancestors, and community, as well as readers who may not have intimate knowledge of life in the North and the era of residential schools in Canada. This book honours Angie while also reflecting on life in the North and weaving together memorable characters and pivotal historic moments on the path to reconciliation.
Life can be difficult, painful, and at times unpredictable. Whether we are stressed, overwhelmed by life, or faced with a life changing event, we can be left feeling lost, alone, fearful or unworthy. And yet, within these thoughts and feelings of despair there is a deeper knowing, that we are more and deserve more. When Beverly Creran had her life upheaved by divorce after a seemingly secure thirty years of marriage, she lost sight of who she was. She drifted with no real sense of purpose or direction to her life, until she decided to take matters into her own hands. Dedicating herself to her own well being, learning about self love, conscious awareness, spiritual healing, and meditation, she was able to move away from a victim mentality to reclaim her life on her own terms. And she wants you to know that no matter where you find yourself, you can do the same. This book will not change who you are. Instead, it will allow you to grow back into your true self, by better understanding the heart, mind, body and soul connection and it will ultimately lead you to discover that you truly are so much more than you think.