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Write On Ottawa: End of time is an operatic family saga

By Ruth Latta on May 3, 2015

Orleans author  K.D. Beckett recently published End of Time, the seventh volume in her In Time saga.  She dedicates the series of family stories to her “wild and adventurous ancestors”, Scottish and French, Algonquin, Micmac, Mohawk and Ojibwa.

Migwitch, Marsi, [Thank you] for your legacy – the Métis blood that flows inside of me,” says Beckett, whose full name is Karole Dumont-Beckett.  (She publishes her books as K.D. Beckett).

Beckett, founder of Métis Publishing, began her saga with the historical novels Rainbows in Time, Mists of Time, Tides of Time and Paths in Time, which depict First Nations and Métis life in 18th and 19th century Canada. The subsequent three novels, Secrets in Time, Legacy of Time, and, now, End of Time are set in the 21st century, and while they can stand alone, they refer to characters and families in the four historical novels.

Her new book End of Time is a contemporary romantic novel involving time travel.  It opens in 2011 on the grounds of a Scottish castle, where a movie is being filmed.  Caitlin Cameron, the struggling young owner of the castle that is now an inn, has rented the grounds to the film company to help pay her mortgage.  Storms have interrupted the filming; the atmosphere is heavy and ominous. When filming resumes, a strapping stranger, wearing a kilt with moccasins and wielding a sword, rides into the battle scene and engages in the fighting.

Caitlin assumes the stranger is a would-be actor who crashed the filming in the hope of being hired. His use of Old English and Gaelic is hard to understand but the elderly woman gardener on the property can translate.  She reports that he claims to be Lord Liam Alexander Blackwell, rightful owner of the estate.  He says that in 1861, while riding in battle beside his father, they were separated in a storm and he “rode into a rainbow”.  There, he felt no sensations for what seemed an eternity, then found himself again riding into battle – this battle “that is not a battle.”

Is this stranger a talented actor who deserves an award for staying “in character” or is he seriously deranged?  Because some of the actors have been injured, the police are called.  Caitlin finds the newcomer so compelling that she makes the excuse to the police that Liam used to live at the castle long ago and hadn’t realized it had been sold.

Her concern for Liam turns to shock when he demands to stay in the suite which was once his parents’ quarters, and when he slices a valuable antique folding screen with his sword.  Caitlin revisits the castle’s portrait gallery and searches the internet, and finds confirmation of Lord Liam’s connection to the family who once owned the property.  Though repelled by his arrogance, Caitlin is touched by his confusion, intrigued by his claims and fascinated by his tales about his Scottish ancestors who married into the Blackfoot First Nation in Canada.

Beckett blends the mysterious and romantic with a touch of humour, involving Liam’s difficulties in coping with life in the 21st century.  After telling the movie director that the actors’ weapons are inauthentic, he becomes the unofficial historical advisor to the movie, which he perceives as a play. But is he an actor, an impostor, or someone mentally confused?  This question – and its answer – will keep you reading.

Though readers want Liam and Caitlin to become lovers, their path is complicated by his desire to bring the castle back into his family, which conflicts with her need for a home and livelihood.  But while romance is vital to any family saga, the most important ingredient is the interaction of multiple generations.  Liam’s family history fascinates Caitlin and her guests, and his tales contribute to the success of her hotel.  Eventually he connects with his cousins from Canada.

By definition, family sagas are operatic, involving vivid settings, period details, heroes and villains, and, of course, love.  End of Time does not disappoint.  Men as well as women buy Beckett’s novels.

“I am passionate about my culture,” says Beckett, “and it shows in my writing and presentations.  That, in turn, makes my audience want to read my work.”

Her books are much in demand at workshops, community fairs and First Nations gatherings.

To obtain End of Time and the earlier books in the In Time saga visit www.MétisPublishing.ca or email kdbeckett@live.ca.