DISCARDED by Nancy M. Bell



DISCARDED  by Nancy M. Bell


by Nancy M. Bell 


GENRE:  Canadian Historical Mystery 



DISCARDED  by Nancy M. Bell
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.

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.

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.

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.



you must go to him. Ètienne needs medicine, the fever is eating him up,” Marie
Anne urged her sister.

 The younger
woman shook her head, wringing out a cloth in cold water to soothe her child.
“How can I? The English woman, she is there now, I doubt Miles will even speak
to me.”

 “He must,
Ètienne is his son!” Marie-Anne insisted.

 “No longer.”
The words were bitter. “He has disowned the baby and me, discarded us like so
much offal. Now that his fancy English lady has arrived.”

Marguerite, you must go and ask. I will come with you. Together we will
convince your Miles to either send the British doctor or give us money for the
medicine.” Anne Marie pulled the dripping cloth from Marguerite’s hand and
threw it on the pounded earth floor. “Look at him! You cannot just let him die.
If you won’t go yourself, I will go in your stead.”

whirled around, grabbing two thick shawls from the back of a chair, and
wrapping them around her shoulders. She planted her hands on her hips and
glared at her sister. “Are you coming?”

 “Yes, oui, of
course. I know you are right. It is just my pride that stops me. For how long
was I his wife in every sense of the word? If not for me, and you, and others
like us, those soft Englishmen would never have survived their first winter. It
was our relatives who brought them buffalo and other provisions to see them
through, and us who cared for them, chopped wood, carried the water, bore their
children…” Marguerite broke off, her throat closing in frustration and sorrow
for all that they’d lost. Angrily, she swiped the moisture from her cheeks and
straightened her back. “Come, we go. Alexandre! Come watch your brother while I
go to your papa to ask for help.”

 The older boy
poked the dying fire one more time before crossing the small room. He picked
the sodden cloth up from the floor and wrung it out. After rinsing it with some
water from the bucket by the bed, he wiped his little brother’s face.

 “Maman, he’s
burning up.” Alex looked up at her. “Will Papa come and take him to the doctor?
Why hasn’t he come to see us lately?”

 “Your papa will
not be coming, nor will he take Ètienne to the doctor. The best we can hope for
is that he will send the doctor or at least make provision for the apothecary
to give me some medicine for him. I have tried the best I can with the willow
bark, but it isn’t enough.”

 “Will Ètienne
die like Elizabeth?” Alex glanced at the empty cradle still sitting by the

 “Not if I can
help it,” Anne Marie promised. She took Marguerite’s arm and pulled her toward
the door. “Put this on against the cold.” She thrust a Hudson’s Bay blanket
into the other woman’s arms.

 “Oui, yes, we
must go. You are right.” Marguerite wrapped the woolen blanket tightly around
her, and after one last look at her children, followed her sister out into the
bitter wind blowing down the Red River, howling around the eaves of the small
buildings and sending snow flying into their faces.

 Alex’s last
words echoed in Marguerite’s head as she shouldered her way against the wind.
“Tell Papa I miss him.” She snorted, as if Miles cared about them anymore. Even
little Elizabeth, dead at six months of age, hadn’t moved him to contribute to
her burial. It was the English woman’s fault. She was the one who turned Miles
against them. Charlotte Windfield, what sort of name was Charlotte anyway?
Grief stabbed her for a moment, not Windfield anymore, oh no. Miles married the
salope in the church two weeks ago. So now she was Charlotte Ashmore. Lady
Ashmore, the pure.



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

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Post a Comment


  1. Thank you for featuring today's book on your tour.

  2. Hello and a huge thank you for hosting my latest novel Discarded on your blog. I really appreciate the support. Thank you again. Best Regards Nancy Bell

  3. The excerpt sounds really interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  4. The book details sounds so good!