Diana Rinne Review - The Broken Thread

A launch of a new book and a celebration of Grande Prairie's most prolific author will take place at the Grande Prairie Public Library, this weekend.

Linda Smith's last novel, The Broken Thread, will be launched at the event slated for 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 15. A former children's librarian and author, Smith passed away in August 2007 at the age of 57. The novel has been published posthumously.

"We had the book in our regular acquisitions process before she passed away," explained Deborah Rush, marketing said at Coteau Books, Smith's publisher. "We had just published the third book in her series The Tales of Three Lands."

With Smith's untimely passing the book moved up to the top of the acquisitions structure.

"Our editor Barbara Sapergia, went through it an thought that it was wonderful. She passed it through the ranks and we all agreed that it was a fabulous book," said Rush. Because the manuscript was part of Smith's estate, the publisher contacted her sister, Barbara Brydges, to discuss publishing the novel. 

"Barbara Sapergia actually had a dual role," explained Rush. "She acted as editor and author, because normally our process is that once it is edited it goes back to the author and they work together on it. Barbara had worked with Linda all through the Tales of Three Lands and she knew the process of how Linda would approach things. Barbara Brydges, her sister, was very confident that Barbara would do the book justice, and I think she has."

The Broken Thread is a young adult, fantasy novel which follows the tale of 15-year-old Alina, who comes from a long line of women who have gone to serve on the Isle of Weaving, where the destiny of the world is born.

"...Alina is asked to take spools of thread to the weaving room, and she gets her first glimpse of the pulsively takes a strand of her hair and ties the red thread to a tawny thread nearby. Immediately, thousands of other threads in the tapestry break. What has she done? The tapestry reflects what goes on in the world, as well as affecting events. By reconnecting a thread that was meant to be broken, she has caused the end of thousands of other threads/lives. She must undo what she has done and the story begins," reads the Coteau Books synopsis of the novel.

Rush is confident the book will be well received by the young adult market. "As you know right now the fantasy genre is as hot as possible and we really see it fitting into that Stephanie Meyer market. This is a little bit more of a sophisticated storyline than her other books. It's very much geared for a teen market," said Rush.

"I think the saddest part of it, is having read the book, it probably does lead itself to a sequel."

Rush noted The Broken Thread has just been selected to be part of Pearson Education's Grade 8 Literacy series. 

"It's a great, great read. There's lots of high action and twists and turns. It's a very good story and the protagonist is one that I think will resonate with a lot of young girls."

The event at the library will be more than a launch of the book, it will be a celebration of Smith's writing and of the mark she left on the community.

Five speakers - Elroy Diemert, Maura Good, Karen Bass, Paula Anderson and Art Macklin - will be on hand to talk about Smith, and read from some of her books, said Laura Reilly, children's librarian at the Grande Prairie Public Library.

"We appreciated her when she was here and when she left, it was amazing how many holes there were in different organizations like the writing group, Children's Literature Roundtable...she was instrumental in Wordspinner. She did so much work behind the scenes, she explained.

"She was always so positive and encouraging. I guess we each have a bit of her in us now, to keep her memory alive and to try and be like she was, really. She was quite an influence in her own quiet way."

Linda Smith: A Celebration will take place at the Grande Prairie Public Library at 1:30 p.m., Nov. 15. For more information on Smith's book The Broken Thread visit www.coteaubooks.com.

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