THE COUGAR LADY Caitlin Press Inc., 2014 Every town has its celebrities, but Sechelt's own unique and larger than life personality was wholesome enough to satisfy all of North America's appetite for eccentrics. Asta Bergliot Solberg, or Bergie, as her friends knew her, lived life on her own terms. She climbed wild mountain trails to hunt for goats, demanded car rides from unsuspecting locals, spent a night in the woods wrapped in the skin of a bear she'd shot and thought nothing of rowing twenty-five miles down a dark, windy inlet. With equal ferocity she wrangled cougars, conservation officers and the police, who had the temerity to tackle her for packing a rifle in town. In this much-anticipated memoir, Rosella Leslie pieces together Bergie's life story through a collection of interviews, local stories and personal anecdotes. The Cougar Lady: Legendary Trapper of Sechelt Inlet follows Bergie's life journey, one lived with ferocity and insurmountable fearlessness. Asta Bergliot Solberg is a true icon of the Sunshine Coast, embodying the irreplaceable and unmistakable vibrancy of Sechelt itself.
THE FEDEROV LEGACY Caitlin Press Inc., 2013 Sergei Galipova, a Russian immigrant and a BC rancher, owes his life to the Countess Catherine Stanislavovna Federov. When the Countess asks Sergei to send his daughter, Alice, to help her set up a private hospital in St. Petersburg, Alice adamantly refuses. But when her father threatens to disown her, she reluctantly agrees to help the Countess for six months. In a small town in the Carpathian Mountains, eleven-year-old Natalya Tcychowski, the youngest daughter of a Hutsul family, is coping with a crisis of her own. Having run afoul of the local bailiff, her eighteen-year-old brother, Oleksi, is forced to flee from their home village of Zgardy, which is under the control of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. When he arrives in St. Petersburg, Oleksi seeks the help of the Countess Federov, who owes his father a debt of gratitude for saving her life twenty-two years earlier. The outbreak of war in 1914 puts both Natalya's and Alice's lives on a path they could not have foreseen and cannot avoid. Three years later Alice is still trapped in Russia and her position as a Canadian in Petrograd is becoming increasingly perilous. Natalya's family is torn apart by their loyalty to the Tsar and countess. As Russia is sent into upheaval by the revolutions of 1917, both Natalya and Alice fight for their lives in a country that is rapidly unraveling.
DRIFTCHILD NeWest Press, 2010 Long-listed for the 2011 Alberta Readers' Choice Award. This is an award that's sponsored by the Book Publishers Association of Alberta and the Edmonton Public Library and is designed to spotlight Alberta authors and publishers
Emma Phillips is a 35-year-old divorcee with an undemanding job, a rustic old house, and a friend who provides all the benefits she needs. She's comfortable, complacent, and accustomed to getting her own way-until she is shipwrecked during a violent storm in the Queen Charlotte Strait and forced to assume temporary guardianship of three traumatized, newly orphaned children.
From the author of The Goat Lady's Daughter comes this moving new story, set against the rugged backdrop of coastal British Columbia, of a woman determined to manage her own destiny and a child whose own strong nature defies those who would take control of her fate.
Rosella Leslie knows intimately these west coast waters. And she fathoms as well the hearts of the motley crew of characters she tosses into the storm. Drift Child has all the elements of good mystery, the depth of good drama, and the smooth writing that makes for a satisfying read. Betty Jane Hegerat, author of Delivery and Running for Home.
Take one aimless 35-year-old paralegal. Combine with three young orphans and a gang of eccentric villagers. Mix vigorously with a horrendous storm and an accident at sea. Let season in an authentic north Vancouver Island setting. The result is Drift Child, a rollicking, heartfelt page-turner that will leave you wanting more. Andrew Scott, author of The Promise of Paradise and Secret Coastline.
BRIGHT SEAS AND PIONEER SPIRITS: A HISTORY of the THE SUNSHINE COAST co-authored with Betty Keller. TouchWood Editions, 2009 This updated and revised edition of the authors' acclaimed history was published in the summer of 2009 by Touchwood Editions. It chronicles significant geological events, the log entries of early explorers and the tragic impact of European intrusion on native culture, as well as detailing the triumphs and failures of the early steamship companies, tugboat captains, fishermen, loggers, miners and farmers. It was first published by Horsdal & Schubart in the spring of 1996 when it won third prize in the B.C. Historical Writing Competition in a field of 45 entries
THE GOAT LADY'S DAUGHTER NeWest Press, 2006 A novel about two eccentric sisters in their early fifties who find themselves adopting a baby girl. Mag, the crusty, conniving older sister and the breadwinner of the family, sees the child as a burden, but Florrie, the more motherly of the two, welcomes baby Jen with open arms. As the sisters struggle to make a living from their remote inlet farm, Jen worms her way into their hearts. When the child starts school, she is suddenly faced with juggling her wilderness existence with the social demands of a life in town. This cobbled-together family is drawn closer together as they grapple with the rigours of living off the land and battle an unscrupulous logger and developer named Pete Saari. They are helped by Sylvia Lower, an amateur archaeologist whose ideas on parenting clash with Mag's, and by Billy Thom, who runs a salvage boat called the Squawk Box. Then suddenly the family's bonds are threatened by a tragedy that nearly overwhelms them.
Published by NeWest Press. Currently being reprinted by Caitlin Press, Inc. Copies are still available at Talewind Books in Sechelt or from the author.
"The climax of this story is a marvel of shrewd narrative structure and emotional restraint. Rosella Leslie keeps her pathos on a tight leash. The more she holds back, the more power she gives readers to loose their own knowledge of loss. You'll need a hankie." Jim Bartley, The Globe and Mail, Oct 21, 2006
An "affecting, gentle novel." Owensoundsuntimes.com Nov 24/06
"[The Goat lady's Daughter] has a page-turning quality that is difficult to resist." Joe Wiebe, The Vancouver Sun, January 6, 2007
"Rosella Leslie's take on the classic rescued-orphan story steers clear of sentimentality and easy moralism. Instead, Leslie confirms for readers that a classic plot can still offer what Anne Shirley herself might call, "scope for the imagination." Edwards Magazine, January 2007
"Intriguing characters are the stronghold of Rosella Leslie's first novel, The Goat Lady's Daughter. With an intentionally basic storyline, Leslie has managed to vividly communicate complex and riveting characters that you will think about long after you've read the novel. Too often, first-time authors become entangled and too ambitious with their plotlines and high impact twists and turns. Few ever succeed in making such a solid character portrait as Leslie does in The Goat Lady's Daughter. Kindah Mardam Bey, Lucid Forge, 2007.
"In this extraordinary novel, Rosella Leslie envisions one of the most ramshackle yet thoroughly engaging families we're likely to see in Canadian fiction this year. With The Goat Lady's Daughter, she proves, in the style of Barbara Kingsolver, that our true families aren't always our relatives but are often those people we get stuck with and choose to keep." Kimmy Beach, author of fake Paul. (Turnstone Press)
A STAIN UPON THE SEA: WEST COAST SALMON FARMING co-written with Betty Keller, Stephen Hume, Alexandra Morton, Otto Langer and Don Staniford. Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd. 2004
Though years and years of shoddy logging and farming practices near streams, mine tailings leaking into rivers, untreated human waste being pumped into the ocean, and the damming of salmon-bearing waters have imperilled Pacific salmon stocks, it is the most recent menace-salmon farms-that will finally destroy the last of these remarkable animals unless drastic measures are taken--and soon. A Stain Upon the Sea, which contains a condensed and updated version of Sea Silver: Inside British Columbia's Salmon Farming Industry (1996) by Rosella M. Leslie and Betty C. Keller, synthesizes the various threads of danger posed by salmon farming to wild fish, the threat posed by the Atlantic salmon which are being cultivated in west coast fish farms, and the lethal infestations of sea lice originating on salmon farms. Leslie and Keller chronicle the haphazard growth of the industry, the contradictions in DFO and MAFF regulations, the unwillingness of government to investigate or police the industry, and its control by foreign multinational companies.
Winner of the Roderick Haig-Brown Prize given annually for the book which "merits distinction as the work contributing most to an appreciation of British Columbia." Finalist for the Second Annual George Ryga Award for Social Awareness.
Reviews: Currently, the corporate-government collusion prioritizes the profiteering of salmon-farming operations with minimal regard for the environment, wild creatures, First Nations and the health of workers and consumers while staunchly refusing cost-incurring alternatives. In western society, citizens caught stealing from corporations are severely punished, but when corporations steal the right of citizens to a clean environment and healthful food, they are too often unpunished and seldom penalized harshly. As A Stain Upon the Sea illustrates, this is a scenario that must be changed-the continued existence of wild Pacific salmon may depend upon it. Kim Peterson, Shunpiking: The Discovery Magazine (online)
A Stain Upon the Sea is a necessary critique of fish farming practices used in BC and abroad, featuring an all-star cast of contributors. BC Book Prizes SORRY, OUT OF PRINT
SUNSHINE COAST A PLACE TO BE Heritage House in August 2000
This book is a combination of historical sketches and a contemporary look at the Sunshine Coast, the people who live here, the things there are to do, and where to find food and lodging. Local residents profiled in the book include artists, musicians, crafts people, writers and publishers. "Leslie packs in scads of well-researched information and trivia. . . ." Coast Reporter, October 28, 2001.
"Your style is warm and inclusive, informative and helpful." Letter from reader Eleanor Swan, September 20, 2001" Sorry, Out of Print
SEA SILVER: INSIDE BRITISH COLUMBIA'S SALMON FARMING INDUSTRY co-authored with Betty Keller (Horsdal & Schubart, Spring 1996), is a detailed history of salmon farming in British Columbia. Taking a middle-of-the-road approach to the concerns of both salmon farmers and environmentalists, the book explores issues such as disease transference to wild stock, interbreeding of escaped Atlantic salmon with native Pacific salmon, and the costly impact on the industry and environment of establishing too many farms in one area. Sorry, Out of Print