As the guests raised their glasses in a toast to Edith’s 45th birthday, the house shook from its foundation to the top of its steel roof, the windows rattled in their frames, and a deafening blast came from the direction of the far-back shed.
“Whoo Hoo! Isn’t this a party!
Happy Birthday, Edith!”
Her mother talked to walls, her grandmother listened to Owls, and she played tag with a little boy who wasn’t there, a child who followed Maisie and Gramma B on their transmigration from the tiny outport of Never You Mind, Newfoundland to
Back of Beyond, Saskatchewan.
Irish Mist is the saga of the interwoven destinies of two families and three generations, of worlds seen and unseen, of wisdom and healing in the face of tragedy.
About the Author
Kris J. Rennie was born in Montreal, Quebec. She is a Cape Bretoner by descent. She has, just recently, found her birth family. But that is another story.
Always wanting to explore and experience what life has to offer and ever at the ready for a road trip, Kris and her husband, Rob, have been across the United States and Canada, coast to coast and beyond, seeking out and soaking in the local folklore. East coast lobster and west coast salmon, fresh off the boats, a local pub and a wee pint are always something on their travel agenda.
“She’s a People Watcher, that one,” could be said of her.
Kris began her writing career in a Montreal High School, composing credible excuse notes for absenteeism in exchange for coffee and what were then called “Fried Butterflies” at the local diner. She never really stopped after that, and she still writes creative reminder notes for her husband and seven grandchildren. She has no more excuse notes to write, so here she is— no excuses.
Carol in Tucson, Arizona –
This story had my interest from the very first paragraph, and the more that I read, the more captivating it became. Each of the many characters had a story of their own. From real life heartwarming situations to hardships to fantasy, which draws the reader’s mind into a believable, mystical world.” A Canadian and Irish story with a few chuckles along the way, it was hard to put down!
Christine in Alberta, Canada –
Kris Rennie’s debut book, Irish Mist consists of five short stories that are interconnected and character driven. Most take place in Canada, primarily the two remote towns of Back of Beyond, Saskatchewan and Never You Mind, Newfoundland, names which bring a smile to any Canadian and conjure up remoteness and isolation in the reader’s mind.
These stories have similar themes in that they are about silver linings brought to some of the characters who have experienced unfortunate situations. The female owners of the charms have had an ancient Irish healing power to fulfill wishes passed down to them.
It is not only the topic of the stories and the characters, but Kris Rennie’s prose that makes it all more believable and keeps the reader interested. In the spirit of not divulging too much, I have chosen to comment on only two of the five stories.
In the first and longest story, “The Well,” we meet fourteen-year-old Colleen, who is just beginning to learn about the charms’ magic when she meets the spirit her Aunt Irene after her mother suffers a concussion. Colleen lives in Back of Beyond on a farm in need of modernization and must go to the well for water. Kris manages to paint with her words a clear picture of Colleen’s nervous trip to the well: “It was too dark to see clearly. The dawn was merely a hope in the eastern sky.” One can just about hear Gordon Pinsent’s voice narrating later on as Kris writes the thoughts of Colleen. She is pleased with the weather after she has taken on her mother’s task of laundry.” The weather cooperated with the sun and the clouds and a wind from the west to steal the sheets from the clothesline.”
The third happy story, “Trees that Grow Old,” takes place in Cathedral Grove near Tofino, British Columbia. It is in the uprooted ancient trees that we meet seven gifted child spirits who live in them. They have each had an untimely passing and are waiting to be whole again by helping out. One of them is Francis whose spirit comes as a dog to help a down-and-out hoarder, Frances. Again, it is Rennie’s description of Frances’ spirit that captured this reader. Her words paint a picture of his empathy. It is wonderful. “His ability to read between the lines of a person’s life book is exceptional. He is always at the ready with his kind demeanour to enlighten the thoughts of others.” How great is that?
Each of these five short stories was equally enjoyable to read and flowed well together. I read them on a warm sunny afternoon under a huge Canadian maple tree. It could not have been more perfect. The book is suitable for all ages of readers. As a mother who often read aloud camping and in the car while travelling with my children when they were teens, I would have chosen this to read.
Noreen Milstead –
Noreen in Ontario, Canada
This book comprises of five completely different, separate, stories and takes you (the reader) on a journey from small-town prairie life, to a Newfoundland outport, to Vancouver Island, and Canadian places in-between. The stories are, eventually, neatly woven together through the many different, believable, characters and their life journeys. Kris Rennie has brought life to the pages through her magical, descriptive words and introduces us to Irish charm, whimsy, lives full of hardship, quiet suffering, joy, and even some unexpected humour.
Irish Mist offers stories that are uniquely Canadian and that are a pure joy to read. Her words bring lives and life styles to life, captivating the reader’s attention and leaving one wanting more.