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Joyner’s Dream is the sweeping story of a family and its dubious legacy: an abiding love of music coupled with a persistent knack for thieving. Beginning in England in the 1780s, continuing in Halifax at the time of the Great Explosion, and ending in Toronto in the present, eight larcenous generations from all walks of life—craftsmen and highwaymen, aristocrats and servants, lawyers and B-movie actors—are connected by music, a secret family journal and one long-lived violin. When the branches of the family are reunited and lingering secrets are revealed, we have come full circle in a hugely satisfying and surprising tale.
This multi-generational story—told in a spellbinding series of historical voices—abounds in such rich social detail and sharply rendered characters, it affords the deep reading pleasures to be found in the novels of Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy.
Enjoy the accompanying album, Joyner’s Dream: The Kingsfold Suite, with all-original music by Sylvia Tyson. Available at zunior.com.
Clare as a model in her mother’s place. The two of them perceived themselves as martyrs pitted against the godlessness of the world at large, and Gerry and myself in particular. Gerry dealt with this by absenting himself as much as possible, and I found myself shrouded in an atmosphere of pious disapproval whenever I ventured out of my workshop. No trace of our former happy existence remained. Some years previous, my sister Clare had become disaffected by the comfortable ritual offered by Father
Barkers, I read in a London paper that Commander Blackwood and his lady had removed to the quiet of their country estate in Derbyshire following the birth of their first child, a son named Edward Alexander Henry. That occasioned another violent drinking spree, and another dark spiral. As Beth grew she appeared more like her mother in every way save colouring, for her hair was almost as dark as mine with only glints of her mother’s copper. She was fortunate in her grandfather, for her father
Nan said it would be sinfully wasteful and they would cheer up the guest parlour. I was at a loss as to how to proceed, for every rebuff seemed to fire his ardour further. My mother treated it as a joke, saying it was puppy love and would soon pass. That is, until he boldly proposed to me two weeks later. Lady Blackwood sent an urgent message to Admiral Blackwood, and Alex was summoned to Derbyshire. His addresses ceased as abruptly as they had begun, and I found myself oddly disappointed that
caught an unmistakable whiff of juniper, and realized the clear liquid in her water goblet had in fact been gin. Rennie excused himself to escort his mother to her room, Sir Lyall declared he was going to his study for a smoke, “by God,” and I was left in the dining room with Michael. He’d had a great deal to drink, but it was no excuse for what followed, for he pressed me up against the sideboard with his hands roaming over me, saying he couldn’t understand why a juicy jade like me would waste
delicate face shadowed by chronic illness. My parents are flanked by the two sisters from the first photo, older by some twenty-two years, tightly permed and corseted, wearing the expensively dowdy dresses and elaborate hats common to women of their station and generation in the late sixties. “Arbus redux,” Persy calls it. All other memorabilia rests with the Stanton Historical Society, founded by Aunt Rachel and housed in the old Stanton-built firehall, which is now the local library. My