Ann Walsh - Cariboo Author

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Moving with her mother from Vancouver to Wells, British Columbia, Elizabeth Connell longs for the excitement of the city and her father, brother, and friends left behind. While she is in the peaceful graveyard of nearby Barkerville she finds a small gold ring that has very special powers. By twisting the ring on her finger, Elizabeth is transported to the nineteenth century during the heyday of the gold rush. Caught between her present life with family and friends and a love in the past, Elizabeth learns more than history.


Barkerville itself was the inspiration for this book. On my first visit there, in the mid-1960s, my husband and I were the only visitors–even the parking lot was deserted. It was dusk and the air was thickening, the way it does on a late summer evening. As I walked up and down Barkerville’s streets I could feel the past around me. “There is something here,” I thought, almost afraid, “There is an echo of history, a taste of ghosts, a smell of memory. There is something here.”

Almost 15 years later I went to a short writing course, taught by Robin Skelton, which was held during the summer in Wells, a small town near Barkerville. I stayed at the Jack of Clubs hotel, went to classes in the Wells School’s library, wrote stories and poems. When I returned home I knew that I wanted to write a book and I knew it would be set in Barkerville. I sat down at the kitchen table with my portable typewriter and less than a year later had finished this book. I had been right, so many years before, when I had said to myself, ‘there is something here.” I just had not known that what I sensed among the old homes and abandoned gold mines was a book, waiting to be written.