Book Title: The Swan Bonnet
Author: Katherine L. Holmes
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publisher: GMTA Publishing, LLC
Presented by: As You Wish Tours
Swans are endangered in 1920s Alaska. Unbeknown to Dawn, her grandfather has shot an old swan out of mercy. In their coastal Alaskan town, her father buys the swan pelt, preventing her Uncle Alex, a fur trader, from selling it for export. Dawn’s father surprises her part-Aleut mother with a hat she helped to make and also with an idea to catch poachers. Dawn and her mother become involved with the suspicious effects of the swan bonnet besides its haunting effect. But after they encounter women from a ship and find out about a hunting party, they ride to the inlet. There are townspeople roving the shore too but who is the vigilante and who is the poacher?
When Dawn came to keep Glenda company, what she did every summer for a week at a time, Glenda was making Bustle a pet.
“She’s gotten her strength back,” Dawn observed. Yet she wondered at Glenda for making Bustle a part of her barnyard where chickens, the cow, and Wallop the horse grazed.
The old swan’s wings were still grand, especially when she swiped at a chicken that interrupted her along the trail of currants that Glenda scattered. And she was getting used to Dawn’s presence as she sat on the cabin stoop, learning the stitches for fishermen knit sweaters. In a breeze-blown voice, Glenda related memories about Bustle as if the swan could comprehend her. Of course, Dawn’s father wanted to make a pet of her when he was a boy.
Young Fen thought Bustle might walk along with him like the dog. Little did he expect that he would get a feisty punch from a wing. Bustle and Sir Swan taught him to take his punches and to know when he might get beat.
“There he was, thrown to the ground, and often it was muddy.” Glenda pointed her knitting needle at the shoreline. “Why, he learned what whitecaps are out there on the cold sea, being around those swans when he wasn’t four feet high.”
Glenda had collected a number of feathers from Bustle over the summer. “Never so many from one swan,” she said one night, letting Dawn pick out a feather for a drawing pen. Then Grandpa Fen honed its tip and required her to write to Reynolds at the General Store about the price Glenda wanted for her eggs, butter, and the berries that were ripening on the foothill.
Dawn's father practiced his letters with a swan plume when he was young. He could only get to school when Grandpa Fen was fishing, taking the skiff there, or when Glenda drove to town. In fact, they all practiced in the evening with the schoolbooks.
Dawn would rather draw with the plume than learn Glenda’s knitting stitches. If she drew Bustle, her grandmother was content to tell another story about her.
“I don’t suppose Alex Tuskoffey told you about Bustle and the grizzly. The grizzly that gave us the rug inside.”
“Maybe he did.” Dawn’s uncle was in the north hunting but he usually stayed with them about the time the autumn ships came.
Katherine L. Holmes’ first published book was The House in Windward Leaves, an MG fantasy which became an E-book Finalist in the 2013 New Generation Indie Book Awards and a Juvenile Fiction Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Book Awards. Also, she won Prize Americana for her short story collection, Curiosity Killed the Sphinx and Other Stories, published by Hollywood Books International. In April 2013, The Wide Awake Loons was released by Silver Knight Publishing. The Swan Bonnet, a historical novel, will be published in July, 2013, by GMTA Publishing. Katherine has worked with used and rare books in the last years. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota.