Based on real people and events in history's margins, Trappings is a story of first love and second chances, in a time when women were only given one chance. Born to the Western fur trade and married at 18, Kate Work knows little of her husband's family in Nova Scotia or the reasons they fled its ruling elite. Haunted by a grandmother she barely knew, her own heritage lies hidden in the vast shadows of the Rocky Mountains. Caught in the boom-and-bust town of Victoria during its power struggle in colonial British Columbia, Kate faces the laws and ambitions of men to protect her only legacy – her daughter. But whose family secrets will decide her fate?
Margaret Work, daughter of Chief Factor John Work, was born into a remarkable family of the Hudson's Bay Company elite. Her British-Métis heritage, an advantage in the fur trade, is now a target for snobbery and racism as the 1858 gold rush brings changing attitudes and loyalties. Unwed at 24, Margaret worries she is fated to spinsterhood in these turbulent times. Based on real people and events, The Chief Factor's Daughter is an elegant recreation of a vanished society.
Born in London, UK, Vanessa Winn currently resides in Victoria, BC, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. This was the origin of her inspiration for her deep dive into historical fiction and telling the stories of our past. A writer since childhood, Vanessa has always been drawn towards literature and creative writing. Fascinated with 19th century literature, she felt an affinity towards the era, but noticed the lack of historical portrayals of the West Coast. Thus began the journey of her delve into the multicultural roots, historical figures, and local history of Victoria itself.
Vanessa realized how little she knew of the history of Victoria and grew enraptured in her research, leading her to follow one rabbit hole into another. Early in her research, she noticed the apparent lack of first-hand sources by women, particularly in fur-trade society, and started to imagine history from their perspective. Feeling their stories deserved to be told, it is here she felt the space for a historical novel. Vanessa began to create, extrapolating truths from footnotes and photographs, until eventually their journeys took shape. With the framework of these women and their families in mind, layer by layer she built her novels around the factual essence at the core of her work. The atmosphere of the setting almost evolved into another character, influencing those who populate it, another story to be told in its own right.
Her debut novel, The Chief Factor’s Daughter, was long-listed for The ReLit Awards, and a finalist for Monday Magazine’s “Favourite Fiction” award. It has been studied in several history courses at BC universities. Her poetry has appeared in various journals, most recently in The Quilliad. Beyond her love of the written word and historical research, she finds inspiration in dance and teaches Argentine tango. Vanessa Winn brings life to the history of colonial Victoria, awakening stories that otherwise may have been lost to the tests of time, engaging readers in the journeys of those who have come before us.