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Sylvia J Melvin

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Helena: Unwavering Courage
by Sylvia J Melvin   

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Publisher:  Createspace ISBN-10:  B005PTVLJU


Copyright:  April 22,2009 ISBN-13:  9781442136762

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Sylvia's Scripts

In 1913,due to an auto wagon accident, Helena Matthews buried her husband in the morning and gave birth to his last child in the afternoon.She turns to the love of her children and her faith to help her face an uncertain future.

Can you imagine a woman burying her husband in the morning and then giving birth to his last child in the afternoon? On the morning of July 18,1913, the village of Loring, Ontario, Canada, wake to the news that James  Matthews, owner of the first auto wagon in the area, is thrown from his vehicle and dies with a crushed skull. Two days later, Helena, his wife, goes into premature labor and watches from her bedroom window as members of the MAsonic Lodge along with friends and family esc ort his body to the cemetery.

No longer able to lean on her husband for support, Helena turns to two factors in her life she can count on--the love of her children and her faith.Together, they help her face a new and uncertain future.

Unaware of how her courage, humor, and detrmination impacts her family, Helena's life is a testimony to succeeding generations.


Helena lifted trembling hands to part the delicate lace curtains.She pressed her face against the bedroom window, and watched through eyes stinging with tears as the mourners in the somber, black funeral procession accompanied her husband's body to the village cemetery that would harbor his remains.
Helena longed to leave the room in which she was confined, run after the wagon and touch the pine box--a last physical contact with James. She watched as their friends moved out of sight leaving behind lingering particles of dust in the air, stirred up from the horse's hooves and the creaking wagon wheels.

Professional Reviews

Helena:Unwavering Courage
Helena Unwavering Courage is a wonderful story of hope and love in the face of great adversity. I read the book in one afternoon and loved the way the book made me go through a full range of emotions from sadness, to hope, and happiness. This story for me has a similar feeling of the beloved classic "Little Women" which also has a strong matriarch. I love the way Helena guides her children with such devoted love and never allows the tragedy of burrying her husband on the same day their precious baby girl is born make her sit down and give up. All moms whether married or single face many obstacles along the way of raising their children. Helena is an example of how no matter how difficult the stituations are with love and faith in God we can make it through the pain to embrace the joy of life and family.

Helena:Unwavering Courage
A woman gives birth while watching her husband's funeral procession from her bedroom window. She leaves town with her five children to secure an isolated riverside homestead. In a raging thunderstorm, she captains a rowboat in rough waters. With an ax, she decapitates a porcupine with termite-like tendencies. When a fast-moving fire threatens her home, she protects her children. Who is this courageous woman? She is Helena Matthews - grandmother of the author, Sylvia Melvin. All of the stories in Helena: Unwavering Courage are true.

Helena was a real life, flesh and blood woman who lived in a rustic settlement of Ontario, Canada during the early part of the 20th century. Advanced technology left her a widow when her pioneering husband, James, was killed while driving one of the area's first "auto wagons." With the help of her neighbors and her ingrained sense of determination, she perseveres in raising Edith, Ruby, Billy, Harry and Annie as a single mother.

Her children certainly put her to the test. Annie suffers a concussion after falling from the top of a stacked hay bale. Billy uncovers an illicit stash of moonshine during Prohibition. Edith thwarts her mother's attempt to encourage the advances of a gentleman caller. Ruby complains about having to leave her friends to live on the homestead for the entire summer. Harry joins the fun as the neighborhood children transform her brand-new window screens into makeshift sleds to slide down the steps, destroying them all in the process.

It is not just the antics of her children that Helena has to contend with. The owner of the general store cheats her. Their cow gets stranded in the middle of a river. A tuberculosis outbreak is a constant threat.

It is an enchanting idea to write a novel based on the life of one's ancestor. Melvin does a terrific job bringing her grandmother's past to life. What a wonderful way to preserve family history while at the same time sharing it with a larger audience. The book's pictures increase the narrative's depth. Helena's portrait graces the cover while interior photos show Billy and Harry fishing on the river and Edith, Annie and Harry playing in the woods. An epilogue explains what happened to everyone once the narrative concludes with the 10 year anniversary of James Matthews' death.

Overall, this is a real life heroine whose story deserves to be told.

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