News Article - June 18th, 2003 - The Langley Times

Between the Covers - Monique Tamminga


When Eagles Call by Langley resident Susan Dobbie, $19.95, available at Chapters. This is her debut novel. Why in the world would anyone leave beautiful, sunny Hawaii for the cold, wet, desolate lands of B.C.'s West Coast in the early 19th century?

Find out in Susan Dobbie's historical fiction novel When Eagles Call, which takes you inside the world of Kimo Kanui, a young Kanaka who leaves his tropical homeland to work with the Hudson's Bay Company as a labourer at Fort Langley.

Through the thoughts and feelings of Kimo, Dobbie weaves a tale of what day-to-day life was like at the local Langley fur trading post - from fighting with hostile Natives to the Fort's friendly trade relationship with the First Nations Kwantlen village across the river. As a volunteer docent at the Langley Centennial Museum, Dobbie has gained in-deptth understanding of the early Hawaiians who came in the thousands to start a new life on the Northwest Coast.

In the book, Kimo struggles with feeling homesick and falling in love with Langley, a place that can be dangerous and cruel but exciting all the same.

What makes this story intriguing is Kimo's growing feelings for a half-Kwantlen, half-French Canadian woman with an independent spirit. Always believing he would go back to Hawaii after his three-year contract was up, Kimo struggles with the idea of leaving Hawaii behind to make a life with her.

Perhaps not addressing all the ugly truths of life at the Fort, Dobbie provides a fascinating snippet of what Fort Langley was like in its very beginnings when the Hudson's Bay was its strongest.

I like the idea that Dobbie has chosen to tell the Fort's history through the eyes of a Hawaiian. Her main character Kimo is a likeable character and his love interest Rose is even more interesting because of the role she is supposed to play and the risky role she decides to take.

I suggest you take a tour of the Fort after reading this book and let history come alive.