Joan Harrison


This is a note from a Saskatchewan reader, written on Earth Day and a few days after the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral—‘our’ duke here in Canada and throughout the Commonwealth. I discovered your books through the small public library in the nearby village in late 2019. (Saskatchewan has a truly amazing interconnected library system.) The first things that crossed my path were Christmas themed. The author’s note in one said that you were Canadian; the next note included that you lived in Saskatchewan. Well! That information prompted an internet search which led to this lovely website and there it was stated that you had lived, married, taught and written in Kipling, Sask. I grew up in that general area, leaving for university in 1971 but remaining in the province. Given this geographic link, and the fact that you were a well known local author but unknown by me, I read more. My local library had Someone to Wed and Only Beloved in the local collection. After reading them, I was hooked. It was such a timely discovery to make as Covid descended. The library system and Indigo(on-line) have kept me ‘in Balogh’ for over a year now. Thank you for creating this amazing body of work. There are so many gems.

By this point, I have been able to read the majority of your work. If one had to pick, your novels about people returning from war are probably the most gripping. That said, the Huxtable series, which is not war related, is not often mentioned in the notes left in your guest book and deserves light shone on it. Constantine Huxtable threads his way through the series as a complex and mysterious character and then, in A Secret Affair, we have the pleasure of being in his mind—and Hannah’s too. It is a masterpiece.

I read (and reread) your books on paper. They are such interior works that it does not seem to me that they would translate well to film. The dual perspectives of the main characters are so interesting. There are recurring themes in your books that seem important to our time. Contact with nature is healing—your characters are ‘forest bathing’ on a regular basis. One can overcome incredible emotional pain and physical limitations and question social norms. Art and music are of great value. You can change life (all life) for the better in your sphere of influence. Animal companions can make a great difference. Love, including sexual love, is the great healer.

And one final comment: I often have to stop reading because my eyes are closed and I am laughing too hard to see the text. Looking forward to Harry’s and Estelle’s stories.

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