Friday, September 15, 2023

Virtual Book Tour + Review + #Giveaway: Discarded by Nancy M. Bell @emilypikkasso @GoddessFish


by Nancy M. Bell

GENRE: Canadian Historical Mystery


When the British arrived in Winnipeg in the 1800s it was convenient for the men to take Metis wives. They were called a la vacon du pays – according to the custom of the country.

These women bore the brunt of ensuring survival in the harsh environment. Without them the British army and fur traders would not have survived the brutal winters. However, as society evolved it became accepted that wives must be white, schooled in British ways, fashionable in the European sense and married by the Anglican church.

The Metis wives and their ‘country born’ offspring were thrown out and forced to fend for themselves. The unrepentant husbands continued to live comfortably with their ‘new’ wives. It was inevitable that some discarded wives did not accept their fate quietly and hard feelings on both sides were unavoidable.

When the bodies of two discarded Metis wives, Marguerite and Marie-Anne, are found floating in the Red River, Guilliame Mousseau, sets out to get to the bottom of his sister Margueite’s murder.


The boys were asleep, finally, and Archie was curled up by the fire struggling to comprehend the simple math problems Guillaume set for him. A brief rap announced Baptiste’s arrival before the door opened. Fèlicitè’s father joined his friend, taking the other chair by the hearth.

All is well out at the camp? Fèlicitè said you brought back many robes and furs.”

Oui, the camp is fine. I had a bit of trouble with some trappers from another camp. Englishmen who had some issues with the boy there.” He tipped his head toward where Archie frowned at the scrapped hide trying to make sense of the addition and subtraction calculations.

Ahh, you settled it to your satisfaction?”

Guillaume nodded. “But tell me what is happening with this annexation by Canada nonsense. The Company has managed Rupert’s Land quite satisfactorily for as long as I can remember. What benefit is it to us to have the Canadians come in, and if the rumours are true, take our land from us to give to their own kind.”

Baptiste scrubbed a hand over his beard. “It worries me, to be sure. We have already had to run off some of their so-called surveyors who are trying to impose their odd square shaped plots on us. They are running roughshod over our longer thin plots which allow everyone access to the river and water for the livestock and living. So far, we have been successful, but there is talk of them sending in more soldiers from Upper Canada. I like this man MacDonald not at all. He knows nothing of us or how things are here in Rupert’s Land and yet he believes he has the right to impose his will on us.”

Do you support the idea of this provisional government that Grant and Riel are proposing? From what I have heard, and Fèlicitè seemed to confirm when I spoke with her earlier, Riel is against violence and will only resort to it as a last resort to force the Canadians to treat us fairly. Is it true the English Half-Breeds are not in support even though they could lose their land as well as us?”

Baptiste shook his head. “I don’t understand them, but that is how things stand I’m afraid.” He took a drink from the skin Guillaume offered him. “Are you coming to the meeting tomorrow night?”

Oui, I think it is in our best interest to hear what the group has to say and how they plan to move forward. I understand Hugh O’Lone is a supporter.”

He is, oui. Why are you interested in him in particular?”

I am hoping he will have heard gossip or bragging in the saloon about the murder of my sisters. Men tend to boast about such things to their friends when they are drinking.”

Entrè,” Guillaume responded to a tap on the door.

I heard you were back, bonne soirèe, Baptiste.” Pierre joined the men by the fire, taking a seat on the long bench to the side. “A good trip?”

Fair enough,” Guillaume allowed. He leaned forward, elbows on his knees. “What have you heard while I’ve been away? I have learned nothing of importance on the trail. Have you been keeping an eye out for anyone missing a silver button on their coats?”

Pierre sighed and sat back on the bench. “Of the silver button, nothing. Most of the talk, and what is being printed in the paper, is focused on the Company relinquishing control of Rupert’s Land to Canada. I did overhear a few of the English ladies chatting when I was at Schutlz’s drug store to buy tobacco. They all seemed to be in accord that the sooner the country wives were gone and forgotten about the better it would be. They expressed dislike and embarrassment for having to put up with children, dirty urchins they called them, running up and calling the women’s husbands their fathers. One of them even suggested they ask their respective husbands to take care of the matter.”

Take care of the matter?” Guillaume glowered and clenched his hands. “Take care of them how?”

That they didn’t say, mon ami. But they did make it sound a somewhat permanent solution to their supposed problem.” Pierre shook his head. “It was all I could do not to take them to task. Calling my sweet Marie-Anne a whore…”

A good thing it was you and not me who overheard this. Miles Ashmore would like nothing more than to clap me in jail and haul me up before the quarterly courts, and I don’t believe I could have kept my temper hearing such terrible things about my sisters.”

Peace, Guillaume.” Baptiste laid a hand on his arm. “Perhaps we need to look further than the Company men and the saloon for your murderer.”

Guillaume bolted upright and looked from Pierre to Baptiste. “You are suggesting one of the richer Englishmen? Perhaps Miles Ashmore is behind this. But I have trouble believing that of him. I know he genuinely cared for Marguerite and the boys, even though I never trusted him.”

Times change,” Pierre reminded him. “Look how many of our women are returning to their father’s cabin after being discarded like so much offal. Because they are not elegant enough, not well bred enough, which means they are not full-blooded Englishwomen.”

And thank God for that,” Baptiste said. “I can’t imagine one of those delicate Anglais as my wife and helpmate.” He spat into the fire. “Phaah, they are useless, perhaps pretty to look at in a pale sort of way, but not suited to the real life of living here. I don’t understand what those foolish men see in them.”

Pierre snorted. “They see them as status symbols, as proof of their perceived high standing in the community. They parade them around on their arms like a trophy at their soirèes and on Sundays as they congregate in their church.”

Guillaume leaned back and rubbed his chin. “It makes sense in a way, the silver button does suggest it was someone with a bit of coin who attacked them. Something to look into.”

Go careful. Tensions are high already between us and the English. Tempers are flaring and it is all Riel and Grant can do to keep things under control. I fear there will be some action soon against the Canadian annexation. Men are worried about losing their land and homes and none of us are willing to go quietly.” Baptiste shook his grizzled head.

The men spoke of other things for a while longer before leaving to return to their own homes. They agreed to get together before going to Riel’s meeting the next night. 

My Review:

Discarded is a Canadian Historical Mysteries written by author Nancy M. Bell. Discarded is the first book by Nancy that I have read. I sorely enjoyed reading Discarded and certainly hope that it is not the last as I do plan on checking out more of her work.

Discarded started off with a blast and never let up for me. I was hooked the moment I read that first page. Two women, Marguerite and Marie-Anne were found dead, floating in the Red River and no one seemed to care. But one man their brother, Guilliame Mousseau did a lot and did everything he could to find out who murdered them.

The two women went out one night looking for medicine for Marguerite’s son who was sick at home. On their way back home the two women were attacked. They were unrecognizable to many but of course, Guilliame knew his sister.

Discarded kept me hanging on the edge as I raced to the end wondering what had happened to these two women and why someone would want to harm them in such a way. But of course, I did have my suspicions as to who was behind it.

Discarded was a well-written story. The descriptions were so well written making it so easy for me to picture it all in my head as if I was right there. I could see the waves as flowing when the two women were discovered floating in the river. I also had no problem seeing the way the men and women dressed. I had no problem picturing the bar and the town.

I enjoyed reading Discarded tremendously and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good mystery. Grab a copy of Discarded today and help to solve a mystery!

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Nancy Marie Bell is a proud Albertan and Canadian. She lives near Balzac, Alberta with her husband and various critters. She is a member of The Writers Union of Canada and the Writers Guild of Alberta.

Nancy has numerous writing credits to her name, having three novels published and her work has been published in various magazines. She has also had her work recognized and honoured with various awards, and most recently, a silver medal in the Creative Writing category of the Alberta 55 Plus Summer Games in 2013.

Nancy has presented at the Surrey International Writers Conference in 2012 and 2013, and at the Writers Guild of Alberta Conference in 2014. She has publishing credits in poetry, fiction and non-fiction.

Nancy blogs on the first of each month at the Canadian Historical Brides Blog and on the 18th of every month at the Books We Love Insider Blog. Please drop by and say hi.

You can find her on Facebook at

Follow on Twitter: @emilypikkasso 



$25 Amazon/BN GC 

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Marcy Meyer said...

Sounds like a good historical mystery. Thanks for sharing.

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting and reviewing today.

Nancy Bell said...

Thanks so much for hosting me today and for the wonderful review of Discarded. I truly appreciate your support. Best Nancy

Sherry said...

Sounds like a good book.

Daniel M said...

looks like a fun one

Daniel M said...

looks like a fun one