Promise in the Void is a historical fiction story about one war bride and her embattled husband and the trials and triumphs they face on the Alberta prairies.
In the summer of 1945, Helen brought their son from the busy, war-torn streets of England to Canada where she and her husband planned to rebuild their lives after the war.
The publication of this novel is dedicated to the memory of Eileen Mary MacDonald, the author of Promise in the Void. A lady, loyal Canadian and Creston Valley resident for over 50 years, Eileen sought to work out many of her life experiences through poetry and creative storytelling.
Eileen was born in Ahmednagar, India, in 1912 to Irish parents stationed there under the British military. She grew up in Ireland with three siblings and faced economic and social struggles. Approaching adulthood, she was determined to immigrate to Canada to find hope and opportunity.
In 1930, at the tender age of 17 years old, she and a girlfriend journeyed from Ireland to Canada by ship. They travelled from Quebec to Alberta by train and arrived at the YWCA in Edmonton. Being industrious, Eileen put an ad in the paper (with the YWCA’s phone number) stating, “Two Irish lasses willing to work for room and board.” From this ad, Eileen connected with a local Irish family, the Rutleys, and thus began her Canadian friendships. She obtained employment at the Great Western Garment Company in Edmonton and became known for her ‘quickness’ as a seamstress.
In 1933, she ventured into the Peace River Country of Alberta, where she married and gave birth to her four children. Eileen faced significant adversity, but she found great solace in reading and writing. She was interested in current events and the way people solved problems in their lives.
In the mid-1940s, at about the time her first marriage began to crumble, Eileen began to write her full-length novel about a war bride who, like herself, immigrated to Canada to follow her dreams for a better life. With limited resources and many life challenges, Eileen continued to work on the manuscript while raising a family, remarrying and becoming one of Canada’s first female customs officers at Kingsgate. Eileen wrote Promise in the Void over several decades. While it is a work of fiction, many aspects of the story paralleled her life and were personally meaningful.
In 1997, with failing health, she gave all copies of the manuscript to her grand-daughter, Rebekah Allen. Eileen requested that the manuscript be published, but if that was not possible, Rebekah was to leave the manuscript in a suitcase for her own grandchildren to find someday. In bestowing the manuscript upon Rebekah, Eileen bequeathed more than she could ever know in memory, inspiration, and love.
Promise in the Void can be purchased in the Creston Valley area at Black Bear Books or online at https://pagemasterpublishing.ca/shop/eileen-macdonald/promise-in-the-void/