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Family history comes to life in Ells’ second novel


Glen Ells.


Kings County Advertiser/Register

If you liked Glenn Ells’ first novel, Starting Over, you will love its sequel, Second Chance.

Well known as a farmer and former provincial minister of agriculture, he can only add to his reputation with this new book.

He unabashedly likes happy endings. I can see him happily spending the summer ahead peddling books.

Second Chance tells the fictional tale of another female Ells ancestor who came with the Planters in 1760. Elizabeth, a younger daughter of Mary and Joshua Ells, is present at two historic events – a privateer raid on Hall’s Harbour and the Battle of Blomidon. Readers will find his depiction of these pieces of local history quite fascinating.

Set in Connecticut at the dawn of the American Revolution and in various parts of Nova Scotia, Second Chance takes up family history in 1767. Relations between this colony and the ones about to break away from Britain slowly disintegrate.

Ells has his feisty heroine travel back to Connecticut to work as a caregiver. She falls in love with a schooner captain, goes to sea with her man and shares in a life of threatening adventures.

Without giving the plot away, Ells brings into the tale characters that shaped early Nova Scotia history, like Michael Francklin, and he manages to humanize them.

While his initial novel was aimed at explaining family history to his 13 grandchildren, this seventh-generation farming family member now appears totally hooked on imagining the past.

This book is, of course, timely given the 250th anniversary of the Planters’ arrival in Nova Scotia this year, but it is derived from Ells’ on-going exploration of his genealogy. Ells’ forefather, Joshua, a weaver by trade; was among the 8,000 Planters who came to the Cornwallis Township and other townships in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Since Joshua and Mary had 11 offspring, readers can look forward to more historical romances based in Kings County.

Ells lives on part of the original family woodlot in Sheffield Mills. He and his wife, Leta, to whom the novel is dedicated, live in a home built in 1832 by Joseph Edward Ells.       

Ells’ book launch for this second novel is at the Sheffield Mills Community Centre May 15, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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