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Our April read is the historical thriller, Woman 99 by Greer Macallister. Set in the 1880’s in San Francisco, Charlotte, raised knowing exactly what her social climbing mother expects of her, has to decide what she is willing to risk to save her sister after she is exiled to an asylum. Mental institutions are notorious for accepting women not only because they are insane, but because they are inconvenient or embarrassing, and Charlotte is determined that her sister won’t be cast aside, no matter the cost to her own well being.

Forest Garden Soap and Sundry in Kamloops, BC, our artisan vendor for the month, has made a gorgeous lavender soap, reminiscent of the ones made by the inmates at the mental institution in the book.

The women in the asylum are not given the dignity of their names, but have a number chalked on their backs every day and Charlotte’s sister is a passionate artist, embellishing the walls with colourful murals. The chalk pastels represent both of these. We have also included a sketchbook for your own artistic creations.

The inmates are fed terrible food. We’ve included some BC-made potato chips as a yummy treat representing the often-rotten potatoes they were served.

The asylum was divided up according to the 9 Muses from Ancient Greek myth in the hopes that each Muse would help a specific type of mental illness. We’ve made our own version of Muse Cards for you, explaining the art & responsibility of each goddess.

The beautiful bookmark this month features an inspirational quote from the book.

Greer Macallister was kind enough to answer some of our questions in an exclusive author interview you will find in the brochure.