By Libby Brownell

This Thursday, March 22, Sharon Butala will attend the Connections Ministry Luncheon since it will take place after the Book Club’s discussion on her latest book called Where I Live Now. Butala is a prolific Canadian author whose first book, The Perfection of the Morning: A Woman’s Awakening in Nature, was published in 1994. Thank you to Libby Brownell for making this visit possible and for writing below about connecting with Butala and her books.

I (Libby Brownell) am looking forward to meeting Sharon Butala in person at the Book Club, since up to now I have only met her through 2 of her books, one (Where I Live Now) which we will be discussing.

In 1963, I graduated in Nursing in Kingston Ontario. When the youngest of our five children was in school full time, I enrolled in the University of Calgary to obtain a Bachelor’s degree focusing on Women’s Studies and Canadian history.  So it may not be surprising that I have always been interested in women in Canadian history and how they overcame hardships and suffering to become strong role models.

I love the West, particularly the Prairies, and the spirituality it invokes in me.  That was probably why I was drawn to Sharon’s books, Wild Rose (previously reviewed  by St. Andrew’s Book Club), and Where I Live Now.

Wild Rose is about a woman from Quebec who comes out West with her husband in the 1880s.  She is abandoned by her husband and raises their child in bleak surroundings while becoming a strong, self-sufficient woman.

Where I Live Now is about Sharon’s love and loss of her husband, her personal survival in the West and her journey leaving the life on the land, and moving to the city all while becoming an award winning author.

After reading both books I came away with a feeling of the struggles women face especially in the background of the hardships of the Prairies. In spite of the hardships, there were positive aspects to the life. For example, the spiritual freedom of nature and all the life lessons it offers, the sky, the animals, the wind, the loneliness, failure, tragedy, peace, and serenity.  And yet with all these challenges, we are strengthened by the spirit of nature and life

I found Sharon’s e-mail address in her book,  I e-mailed her and she responded immediately indicating a willingness to come to our Book Club.

As I said at the beginning, I look forward to meeting Sharon, as she is a true prairie woman who has shared her life and lessons with the world through her books.  I am certain that discussing Where I Live Now and meeting Sharon Butala will be an enriching experience for all who are able to attend.