Wonderful...Welcome to Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs with a Winnipeg twist.
- Winnipeg Free Press
Sandi Altner reminds me of a young Isaac Bashevis Singer. The flow is wonderful, from the poverty and hard lives of the family overseas and their dreams of reuniting with loved ones in London ... to the sale of Ravenscraig and the efforts of Willows to get into Winnipeg's high society. Excellent and gripping. - CTV Montreal
Ravenscraig provides a fascinating insight into early Jewish migration.
- Winnipeg Jewish Post and News
From the Author
I am a writer, Titanic fanatic, and former television news reporter with a keen interest in social history. My first novel, Ravenscraig was first published in Canada by Heartland Associates, and was launched on November 29, 2011 to an amazing response in Winnipeg and the top spot in the bestseller list at McNally Robinson Booksellers. Ravenscraig was published in the Kindle Select Program by Franklin and Gallagher in August, 2012, for all sales outside of Canada. Every time I tell someone about my book, it inevitably leads to their telling me about how their families came to Canada or the United States. It seems there is an ever growing interest in genealogy and family histories. I am writing a blog, called Ravenscraig, to share the stories and resources that I discovered in the many years of research I did for the writing of the novel Ravenscraig. This work was, and continues to be, a most gratifying journey that has helped me to learn where I came from, and who I am. You will get a sense of the story by looking at the book trailer, which you will find here on Amazon as well as on my blog and on Goodreads. I love hearing from and responding to readers, so if you have questions, contact me! Family history and stories about those early years in the "new country" have always been of great interest to me. My family is Ukrainian Canadian and I am a fifth generation descendent of the first group of Ukrainian pioneer families that came to Manitoba to farm in 1896. We are, to this day, "peasant stock" as my mother proudly claims. I have posted family pictures and a story about our history on the Ravenscraig blog. I was born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada, and enjoyed a long and exciting career in television and radio news in Calgary, Winnipeg and Montreal. I feel greatly privileged to have had a"front row seat", microphone in hand, to tell the stories of the newsmakers of the day, from homeless people, to captains of industry, to just plain decent people doing good things in the world. Well, and to be honest, to tell a great many stories about people who were not to be admired. Overall, I loved being in news and have a great respect for my friends who continue to work in the media. I am also a Jew by choice, which came about, in large part, through my years of research into the history of Winnipeg's Jewish community and the natural path I found to study Judaism. I invite your comments and questions on my blog. altnersandi.com
Winner of the 2012 Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award, Sandi Krawchenko Altner enjoyed an award-winning career in television news in Canada before she left to follow her passion for writing fiction. She is a fifth generation descendent of the first colony of Ukrainian immigrants to settle in Stuartburn, Manitoba in 1896. Sandi grew up with a keen interest in her roots and a deep love of history. A Jew by choice, Sandi celebrated conversion in 2005. She lives, writes and blogs in Florida where she is active in her synagogue. Sandi and her husband have two daughters and two happy dogs. Ravenscraig is her first novel. See Sandi's blog at www.altnersandi.com
Ravenscraig is now available on Kindle. ASIN: B0093GS6NK
Ravenscraig is a very impressive debut novel. Author Sandi Krawchenko Altner spins a compelling tale in this family epic that contrasts rich against poor during the immigration boom at the turn of the 20thcentury. I loved the pace of the story and was quickly caught up in the lives of the characters. A poor Jewish family fights its way through struggles to get a start in Canada. A rich man with secrets and appalling behavior smolders beneath an utterly charming exterior as he grows his wealth and power. Add to that a romance and the Titanic, and you have the makings of a story that I predict will find a strong audience and likely a movie deal.
I read Ravenscraig because I found it on a list for those "who love Downton Abbey" and find it to be among the better books worthy of that listing. There is much to learn and enjoy in this Canadian story that spans two decades. Lengthy though it may be, weighing it at about 500 pages, I am surprised to say I found myself wishing more chapters had been added. Delicious ending! Please don't spoil it for others if you write a review. I do hope Altner is planning a sequel so that I might learn more about the Willows and Zigman families.
The author is to be commended for the depth of the research clearly shown in the immigration experience, the prostitution scandals, the typhoid epidemic and the Titanic. The historical facts stand the Google test, and set a solid base for a lively story set in Winnipeg; a city I never before considered visiting. Now I think perhaps I will one day, to see Armstrong's Point and to learn if Ravenscraig Hall is a house that actually stands.Read more ›
I found the characters compelling and the storyline was one that I couldn't seem to get enough of. I'm not an expert on historical facts - I just take what is presented at face value - so I found the Canadian history fascinating. Unfortunately, times haven't really changed that much over the centuries as humankind is still grappling with the same issues. The storyline could be written today, too. The ending took me by surprise!
This is not high literature but a fun read. I loved that there are lots of historically acurate facts, like the owners of Ravenscraig winter in Florida with Henry Flagler. Them being on the Titanic was a bit over the top but then entire book was quite enjoyable.
Meticulously researched and absolutely delicious - it was hard to put the book down when company came to visit! I certainly hope this author continues her writing career. I loved the characters and they were so very engaging and realistic. If you love historical fiction and romance that isn't sappy or contrived, you will not be disappointed with this book!
I really enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down. When I first saw the title, I thought "Uh oh, another bodice ripper", but that could not be further from the truth. The author skillfully weaves fact and fiction into an immensely enjoyable tale about Winnepeg in the late 19th, early 20th century. The characters are complex, and the way they react to the events in their lives seem true to life.
I've lived in the States all my life and never knew of the interesting history of Winnepeg. I loved learning about the city while reading the different predicaments the characters endured. Who knew that typhoid was such a huge problem, or that the city fathers allowed prostitution to flourish? Obviously, the author did. The immigrant experience was another fascinating facet of the story. Reading about a woman whose hair froze to the wall, and the suffering the immigrants endured made the book real. My family came from the same type of shtetl as the Zigmans so that brought their experiences even closer to home.
Kudos to the author for such an interesting and informative book.
Once in awhile you come across a truly wonderful book. I recommend Ravenscraig to anyone that enjoys reading! This novel is full of history, love,suspense and the many challenges the immigrants faced in a new world. I enjoyed learning about the city of Winnipeg.
I could not put the book down, and I'm impatiently waiting for the author to write her second novel! I'm planning on ordering several copies of Ravenscraig for holiday gifts.
The book is over 500 pages and the first 2/3 reads like a historical narrative. More detail was devoted to the history of Canada and Winnipeg than character development. It was boring and did nothing to advance the story. The end of the book took many twists and turns and it was hard to put down the last 100 pages. I think a good 100 pages or so could have been edited out of the beginning. I give it 3 stars because the ending was so good. I will never read it from the beginning again.
This book started out well and I thought I was really going to enjoy it. Halfway through it seemed to fall apart. Instead of continuing to tell the story of two different families the author seemed to focus on only one. And the title suggests that the two families become intertwined but the only connection is with one person, Maisie. Toward the end I began skipping pages just to finish.