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The Mayor of Pudding Hill
William Delia. KDP, $11.99 trade paper (284p) ISBN 979-8-4253-9103-2
A journalist documents a centenarian’s role in pivotal moments of 20th-century Canadian history in the folksy latest from Delia (Shelter from the Storm). On assignment for a Nova Scotia newspaper, Caleb MacKenzie attends Albie Albertson’s 100th birthday party. After hearing bits of Albie’s impressive life story, Caleb insists to his editor that they expand the piece into a series of articles. During the next months, Albie details surviving the 1942 sinking of the Bluenose cruise ship in the Caribbean; his heroic efforts during the Springhill Mine disaster in 1958; his knowledge of a 1967 UFO sighting; and his presence in Gander, Newfoundland, in the aftermath of 9/11, when the town hosted stranded airline passengers. Meanwhile, Caleb starts dating Albie’s granddaughter Sarah Chase, a history professor, and Albie carries on a romance with fellow nursing home resident Rosie, who claims she survived the sinking of the Titanic. Conflict ensues after Rosie’s daughter tries to break up the couple, convinced her mother’s Titanic story is a fabrication and that Caleb is taking advantage of them to further his career. As Caleb and Sarah seek to find out what’s true and what’s not, Delia pulls together an affecting yarn with a rewarding resolution. Readers are in for a treat. (Self-published)

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on 06/09/2023