Linda Spalding was born and raised in Kansas. She is the author of three previous novels and two acclaimed works of nonfiction, A Dark Place in the Jungle, which was short-listed for the Trillium Book Award, and the Pearson Writers’ Non-Fiction Prize, and Who Named the Knife. Her novel The Purchase received the Governor General’s Award for English-language fiction. Spalding lives in Toronto, where she is an editor of Brick magazine.
In the spring of 1855, John Dickinson is involved in a shameful secret that will require a tragic decision. The family’s resources have been wasted by a reckless brother who holds all of them hostage and, adding fuel to John’s desperation, the enslaved workers have been visited by a Canadian abolitionist who pushes them to escape. Bry does, and his pursuit of freedom will involve a dangerous quest to find his mother and child in Canada.
Meanwhile, the Dickinsons become fugitives of another kind, escaping their losses in a wagon en route to the West that will eventually be loaded onto a Missouri river boat. Each person will be tested, especially 13-year-old Martin, whose lonely journey with a pet bear is almost mythic. A deeply moving and troubling account of a family’s breakdown, A Reckoning confirms Linda Spalding’s place at the forefront of Canadian literature.