At the turn of the 19th century, along a riverbank near Harrison, B.C., an abandoned infant Sasquatch helplessly searches for his family.
Luyana, a Chehalis First Nation elder, spots the young creature and secretly takes him into her care. When he can no longer be hidden, Luyana reveals him to her village, who welcome him as a brother and protect him from intruders searching for a trophy Sasquatch.
Mystery Valley, the first novel published by Brookswood author Nicole Dargère, is as much a tale of love and legend as it is a historical recount of a former way of life.
Originally written and published in French in 2012, the novel has been translated to English and was published in January by Ekstasis Editions.
Although she is not First Nations herself, since moving to Canada from Lyon, France more than 30 years ago, Dargère has been fascinated by their culture.
“My inspiration actually came from always looking at the artwork of the native peoples,” she said.
“What resonates with me is their spirituality. I have known native people and I really admire their way of thinking, their peaceful way of looking at nature and also very much respecting nature. Their spirituality, in particular, is something I am very enthralled with in that culture.”
Dargère began her research in 2009, conducting interviews with local First Nations people, visiting museums and compiling information online.
When published in France three years later, Mystery Valley was very well received, Dargère said.
“First of all, they love Canada, they speak of it as the promise land,” she said.
“A lot of people want to come to Canada, especially on the West Coast. And they also have a keen interest in the native culture, so I think that my book brought them a different outlook. I talk about the spirituality a lot, and I also integrate the history of the Sasquatch, which at first many French people didn’t really know what a Sasquatch was. They found it very interesting.”
Although it is her first time publishing a book, Dargère is no stranger to writing, having spent a career crafting successful French plays and musical comedies for children, while also working as a French tutor and translator.
Mystery Valley is available online at www.ekstasiseditions.com, or by contacting Dargère directly at 604-534-6224. Copies purchased in person will also be signed by Dargère.