Location, location, location 14

Earlier today I tweeted a reminder that Selah March’s contest was still open (it will be until Sunday Sept 4, 9 p.m.) and Lex Cade tweeted back that she was actually from the town Selah’s book is set in — Harlan, Kentucky. We started chatting, and she mentioned she’d love to read more Canadian set books.

(I’ve been asked that before, and I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard Canadian writers mention that an agent or editor was interested in their manuscript but had suggested they change the location from its Canadian city/town to somewhere in the States. But that’s a whole ‘nother issue.)

It got me thinking about what Canadian-set novels (or novellas) I could recommend to Lex. The first one that leapt to my mind was Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series. They take place out in Prince Edward Island, one of the few provinces I’ve never visited, yet I feel like I have been thanks to reading those books as a child. There are also familiar names such as Farley Mowat, Robertson Davies, W.O. Mitchell, Mordecai Richler…there is a whole list, most of whom, I’m embarrassed to admit, I haven’t read since high school. But what about more recent stories, I mused. Robert J. Sawyer, the author of Flash Forward and numerous other award winning books, has set quite a few of his books in Canada, as has Kelley Armstrong, Margaret Atwood, and Michael Ondaatje. (I discovered after I started this list that someone has done my work for me by starting a “Books Set in Canada” list over at Goodreads.)

But what about contemporary romances? Well, there’s Lynsay Sands‘ vampires, the Argeneau family is based in Toronto (though some of the books have been set in NY, LA and Europe.) Vivian Arend’s Granite Lake series and her Takhini Gold series are set in Canada. (**Edited** Vivian has tweeted me, reminding me that her cowboy series, her Pacific Passion series, as well as her Freestyle series are also all set in Canada.) Donna Alward‘s cowboys are set in Alberta Canada. Ellora’s Cave even created a series of “O Canada” books for those who like the idea of red hot action in the great white north. (Although with today’s temps around here, we’re no where near thinking of snow–the humidity is brutal!)

What other New York or US published internationally available books have you read that have been set in Canada, and how did the location influence you? Did it make you want to visit Canada? Did you get an idea of who the people are? Tell me!

I’ll give away $10 gift certificate from All Romance eBooks/OmniLit Books to one lucky commenter.  (I’ll leave the contest open until Saturday, September 10th 9 p.m. to give you time to think about this…it doesn’t have to be a romance, but don’t ignore them either.)

14 thoughts on “Location, location, location

  • Fedora

    Hmm… well, definitely the Ann of Green Gables series, and I think Kate Bridges has a bunch set in Canada. These are kind of historical though, so it makes me want to visit the same way I enjoy reading a Regency to visit England 😉

    As for modern day, I think Sasha White’s Bound is set in Canada.

    Personally, I like stories set in places other than where I live, so I love it when authors are allowed to keep the feel of the place and people a part of the story rather than “Americanizing” it for a US audience. I’ve heard that sometimes Aussies are instructed to do that for their releases, and that makes me sad! I wouldn’t want to only read US-based stories–that’d be boring!

    • Leah

      Fedora — I’d forgotten about historicals! yes, Kate Bridges has books set in the Yukon! (I should have remembered since she’s a fellow TRW member) And Jo Beverly set the start of one of her regency historicals, The Rogue’s Return, one of her Company of Rogue books in around “muddy little York” now known as Toronto, LOL.

  • Elyse Mady

    My September release, “Something So Right” is set in Canada – Muskoka to be exact – and it’s a contemporary romance. Carina’s a great for that – nobody said, well gee, can you move them to Michigan?? (although my editor and I have agreed to disagree over the whole US/Cdn spelling thing LOL)

    • Leah

      I think Harlequin is terrific because they do have so many books set in Canada — Donna Alward’s cowboys, Kate Bridges mounties, etc. I can’t wait to read your Muskoka-set book, Elyse!

  • Zee

    I’m ashamed. I’ve read Anne of Green Gables and Never Cry Wolf, but when I think “Canadian characters” I think Wolverine and Alpha Flight. So… comic books… and not especially good ones…

    • Leah

      Zee–did you know that Professor Xavier’s school in the first Xmen movie was shot right here in my home town? Well, the exteriors were of the school were, anyway. They filmed it at Col. Sam McLaughlin’s Parkwood Estate. The interiors of the school were filmed in Toronto’s Casa Loma.

      Oh, and I should add that Superman was dreamed up by a Canadian, even if he was living in the States at the time. Mordechai Richler has even decided that Superman is “the perfect expression of the Canadian psyche.”

  • Angela S. Stone (@AngelaSStone)

    As a Canadian Author, who happens to be published by an american publisher, I would say there is a lot of them out there. I write books set 90% of the time in Canada. That being said I think that more books need to be set there!

    Kathy Reichs Temp. Brennan series is set partially in Montreal and partially in North Carolina (and a whole host of exotic locations). She does a wonderful job of describing Montreal.

    Barbara Murray’s Bea and Mildred Mystery series is also a Historical novel set in Canada.

    Some other famous classical books like The Chrysalids is set in what is basically Newfoundland.

    There are lots of Harlequins that are set in Canada as well.

    I could go on. But I’ll throw a mini-pimp out there for my debut novel . and say come visit Canada :)! It’s a lovely place!


    • Leah

      Angela — welcome to my blog! I’d forgotten about Kathy Reich’s heroine working in Montreal on occasion. And the Chrysalids is on my keeper shelf too–though I’m not sure that’s quite the idea of Canada we want to give people considering its post-apocalyptic life. (Although I think that was one of the things that intrigued me when I first read it, that Newfoundland and New Zealand would possibly be less targeted.)

  • AmyW

    Michelle Rowen’s BITTEN AND SMITTEN (and maybe the rest of the series from Grand Central, but I’ve only read the first) is set in Toronto. There’s a scene where the heroine is running from vampires in the PATH (underground walkways/malls between office buildings) and yeah, it’s creepy as hell down there at night when it’s deserted!

    • Leah

      YES! I used to work down there and it can be very creepy, especially down some of the side paths. Lynsay Sands also mentions the PATH in her Argeneau series–as the perfect place for vampires to work since they don’t have to go out in the sun.

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