Aleta Day

Francis Marion Beynon, Author, Beynon, Author Penguin Books $8.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-14-016225-7
Like the author of this autobiographical novel originally published in 1919, Aleta spurns the rigid conventionality of her rural Canadian upbringing to become a journalist, suffragist and pacifist in Winnipeg. As the Great War looms and Canadians become increasingly militaristic, she concludes that ``the only conquering force in the world is love.'' Her faith is severely tested when she meets and becomes infatuated with McNair--a man who believes in patriotic soldiering and holds traditional views about women and men. Their intense emotions supported by mutual respect and by searching, intellectual conversations at her fireside, they do find common ground. But when McNair joins the army, Aleta redoubles her anti-war activities with a fervor that earns her imprisonment and eventually leads to tragedy. Despite a rather plain, serviceable prose style, Beynon effectively communicates her heroine's strong convictions, bravery and grace, and even lends her unlikely love affair a persuasive romanticism. Aleta's belief in war's essential immorality remains pertinent today, as does the example of a woman creating the life of her own choosing. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
Genre: Fiction
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