Pine Warbler: Farming, Friendships and the Ties That Bind in a Bucolic Rural Setting

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The country life is in the blood of Carolyn j. Morris. That’s where she got her start in the world – and that’s where she spent her formative years – growing up on the family beef farm in what was once known as Nottawasaga Township in southern Ontario. She’s the youngest of five children – and she spent much of her childhood revelling in the rural lifestyle, a happy participant on the family farm and in the many and varied activities of the 4-H organization.

Every year, come autumn, you could find her at the fall fairs that were, and still are, so much of country life. And even today, she reunites with family and friends at the Great Northern Exhibition in Collingwood, Ontario. That’s how farm life gets into your blood – Carolyn did, after all, show her first steer at the age of 7; and she joined her older sisters and brother in 4-H at the age of 12.

Carolyn j. Morris is now a teacher, a public speaker, a workshop leader, and an accomplished, highly regarded author of youth- and family-oriented novels. Her first two rural-life novels, Mourning Dove and Barn Swallows, were greeted with both critical and popular acclaim. And both the reviewers and the readers were of precisely the same mind – the emotional sincerity of the novels themselves, the very human story-telling, and the marvellously warm style of presentation touched the critics and the readers in a deeply emotional way.

Fast forward, then, to Pine Warbler, the author’s third – and most recently released – novel. Pine Warbler is a natural follow-up to her earlier works. The story, quite naturally set in farm country, focuses around the coming-of-age tales of young Gus, who finds her life continually moving in interesting new directions, with new friendships and new adventures always around the corner.

But Pine Warbler offers so much more, particularly in its warm exploration of human relationships. Gus’ friendship with Billy Robinson is part of that – Billy recently lost his Dad Ben to a brain aneurysm – as is the budding relationship between Billy’s widowed mother Marion and Levi, the town’s attractive, available veterinarian. Heart-warming also is the tender, loving relationship involving Gus and Billy’s grandmother Vera Robinson, whom Gus calls Nana. And it is the passing of the seasons – through fall into winter and on to spring and summer – that serves as the backdrop to those loving relationships.

Pine Warbler is a lovely book, one that readers both young and old will find charming, spirited and heart-warming. Morris’ writing, as always, is crisp and clear; the narrative of the novel moves forward at a brisk, easy-to-read pace; and the story unfolds lovingly and with joyful tenderness.

Pine Warbler is highly recommended. Actor/screenwriter has this to say about author Morris and her works: “Wonderful books from a remarkable woman. Carolyn j. Morris is like a breath of spring in the depths of winter.” With Pine Warbler, she has hit the mark once again.


Carolyn j. Morris lives in the rural town of Beeton, Ontario, outside Toronto. She enjoys hiking, exploring antique shops, and reading in her garden.

Pine Warbler
by Carolyn j. Morris
Illustrated by Anne Brolley
ISBN: 9780987682123

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