Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Award-winning YA author William Bell’s Alma is the captivating story of a quiet girl who builds a friendship with a reclusive stranger.

Times have been tough since Alma’s father died and she and her mother had to give up their farm and move into town. Luckily, Alma can always retreat into the books of her favourite author, R.R. Hawkins.

When Alma’s teacher notices her lovely handwriting, she recommends Alma for a job transcribing letters for “Miss Lily,” a reclusive old woman who has just arrived from Boston. Eventually, their mutual love of reading creates a strong friendship. Miss Lily lends Alma some of her favourite books, introduces her to calligraphy, and encourages her passion to write stories.

But who is this difficult and solitary old woman who reminds Alma of Dickens’ Miss Havisham? And why is she so secretive about the part of her life she refuses to share? Could she be, as Alma begins to suspect, R.R. Hawkins herself? Alma is determined to find out.

This touching story explores the relationship between a blossoming writer and her mentor, and delves into the complicated dynamics of friendship and trust.


Chapter One

“Brush those carrots carefully, Alma.”

Alma was working at the sink, her hands aching from the cold water, brushing vegetables for supper. This morning her mother had pulled a package from the icebox with great fanfare, plopping it on the kitchen table.

Alma had unwrapped...
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“Bell writes with taut drama, building scene upon scene to the climactic revelation.”

From the Paperback edition.