• Drift Child

Drift Child


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978-1-897126-71-4 | 2010 September | 240 Pages


Emma Phillips is a 35-year-old divorcée with an undemanding job, a rustic old house, and a friend who provides all the benefits she needs. She's comfortable, complacent, and accustomed to getting her own way — until she is shipwrecked during a violent storm in the Queen Charlotte Strait off Vancouver Island and is forced to assume temporary guardianship of three traumatized, newly orphaned children.

From the author of The Goat Lady's Daughter comes a moving new story, set against the rugged backdrop of coastal British Columbia, of a woman determined to manage her own destiny, and a child whose own strong nature defies those who would take control of her fate.

“Rosella Leslie knows intimately these west coast waters. And she fathoms as well the hearts of the motley crew of characters she tosses into the storm, each adrift in their own way. Drift Child has all the elements of good mystery, the depth of good drama, and the smooth writing that makes for a deeply satisfying read.”
~ Betty Jane Hegerat, author of Delivery and Running Toward Home

“Rosella Leslie has created a surefire recipe for adventure. Take one aimless, 35-year-old paralegal. Combine with three young orphans and a gang of eccentric villagers. Mix vigorously with a horrendous storm and accident at sea. Let season in an authentic north Vancouver Island setting. The result is Drift Child, a rollicking, heartfelt page-turner that will leave you wanting more.”
~ Andrew Scott, author of The Promise of Paradise and Secret Coastline

“A loving, modern, page-turning story, full of strong women and kind characters. Deeply sad, yet infinitely believable, Drift Child is a story of familiar people in familiar places, dealing with amazing twists on everyday life in coastal BC.”
~ Sarah Roberts, author of Wax Boats


The father sat on the boat’s only seat, his broad shoulders bent to the task of rowing. The girl fixed her eyes on the back of his red plaid shirt as he reached and pulled, reached and pulled.

My daddy.

She wore his denim jacket beneath her plastic poncho and life jacket, and she wriggled so that she could feel the fabric of the sleeves, as if his arms were holding her, keeping her safe. So long as he was there, she was not alone. Not a drift child.

Whenever the zodiac rocked wildly in the trough of the giant grey waves, she gripped the ropes fastened to the starboard pontoon and braced the heels of her runners against a plastic floorboard. The bow leapt high in the air and smashed back into the trough, pitching the girl against her two siblings. She pulled herself free, leaving them clinging to each other and the blanket they shared.

“Those two have each other,” her aunt had once told a neighbour, “but this one is alone. A drift child.”

A gust of wind blew rain into the girl’s face. I can’t see! I can’t see! She blinked and blinked, but every time she raised her head, her face was drowned anew. She couldn’t breathe. I can’t see! Bending forward, she swiped her face against the plastic covering her knee, then, looking up, squinted until she found the red plaid of his back again. Strong. Purposeful. Working the oars.

My daddy! The words screamed inside her head.