Betsy Elliott is a match for the cold northeast winds that rattle windows and carry Newfoundland sailors away to their deaths. Forced into service after her father’s death, married at eighteen to a much older man, she’s become as hard as the rocks that line the shores of her island home. Talented, brilliant, and hard-working, she will do anything to make things go her way in the life she’s been forced to live.
One November day in 1933, Edmund Taylor stumbles into their lives when he is invited by John Elliott to board with them to write a book on the Commission of Government and finish his final papers for his graduation from Harvard Law School. During the harshest winter in decades, disaster and despair rock the Elliott home and their entire community, and events lead Edmund, overcome with guilt, to want to flee. In love with the formidable Betsy, he invites her to run away with him to Boston.
Should Betsy stay in a place where children die of curable diseases and life has a deadening sameness, or go to Boston, the city of her dreams, where adventure and opportunity await? Betsy must choose between duty and the dreams she thought were impossible. But time is running out. Edmund will leave as soon as navigation opens up. Will Betsy be on the boat with him, or will she stay, chained forever to the life she thought she was destined to live?
She penned a regular community column entitled “Connections,” a biweekly arts feature, “In Conversation,” and wrote general news for the Pilot. Today she writes a weekly column, “Art & Soul,” for the Central Voice and co-hosts an online radio program, Bridges. A founding director of Literary Events NL, she also serves as the current Central/Burin representative for the Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador (WANL).
Carolyn is married to Kent Chaffey, also a Change Islander, and they have four daughters and three grandchildren. In the past decade, she has written a poetry collection, two novels, and a book of short stories. The Forbidden Dreams of Betsy Elliott is her debut novel with Flanker Press.