1. Janice MacDonald, The Roar of the Crowd
Each book of MacDonald’s mystery series acts as a tour guide for the city, as amateur sleuth Randy Craig visits real-life landmarks and restaurants in Edmonton. Even when she’s busy solving a murder, Randy takes time to enjoy her favourite spots and food, such as the bread pudding at High Level Diner. Her most recent adventure, The Roar of the Crowd, is set against the backdrop of the theatre scene, featuring the Freewill Shakespeare Festival and the Fringe Festival.
2. Diana Davidson, Pilgrimage
Set in 1891, Davidson’s elegantly written novel follows the story of three women — a young Métis girl, an Irish Catholic house girl, and the Anglo-Irish wife of a HBC manager — who are all searching for redemption in Lac St. Anne, a settlement just north of Edmonton. In the shadow of major historical events, we forget how difficult day-to-day life would have been for settlers, as it’s enough of a struggle for these women to survive the winter and the violent circumstances they encounter. To experience what life was like for these characters, visit Fort Edmonton Park, which immortalizes the pioneer years.
3. Todd Babiak, The Garneau Block
This book first appeared as a serial novel in the Edmonton Journal and centres around a neighbourhood block in Garneau, whose eccentric residents are trying to save their homes from being annexed by the university. This whimsical tale with bite-sized chapters will have you snorting and giggling as you enjoy Babiak’s true-to-life characters. He captures the spirit of Edmontonians in the book’s pages, along with some of the city’s unique haunts.
4. Jason Lee Norman (editor), 40 Below: Edmonton’s Winter Anthology
How do Edmontonians really feel about the winter season? Featuring many of Edmonton’s most prominent writers (including Thomas Trofimuk, Michael Hingston, and Alice Major), this collection shares unique visions and stories of the city in the wintertime. Watch for a second volume of the anthology in November, which will expand to cover stories and poems from the rest of the province’s perspective on the season.
Find more great information about Edmonton in the 2015 Edmonton Travel Guide!