Brilliant singers and extraordinary women, Jean Forsyth and Edith J. Miller epitomized a golden age in Canada’s burgeoning West, where the only entertainment was live, and live performance was the beating heart of cultural life.
Beginning as soloists in Manitoba’s church choirs, soprano Jean Forsyth and contralto Edith Miller took different–though crisscrossing–career paths, navigating an era of remarkable change, from the constraints of late Victorianism to the liberation of the Roaring Twenties. One rose to international stardom and the pinnacle of society, singing for the King of England. The other met the new challenges of the day in a flurry of philanthropic and entrepreneurial activity, crowning an already celebrated career. Each struck out on her own, to struggle–and find–success in a world where opportunities for women were scarce.
Much has been written about the history of the pioneer Prairie West, but rarely has its social arena been so thoroughly examined. Rich in detail, abundant with extraordinary and colourful characters, A Tale of Two Divas is a fascinating and inspiring tale of a bygone era that resonates with our very own.
News & Reviews
“Cameron and Kreutzer have completed a tale about two women who did memorable things in the late-1800s when Winnipeg was transitioning from a pioneer society to a significant city with a growing cultural scene.” —Interlake Enterprise
“What started off as a chance correspondents with one of her favourite authors, turned into a captivating non-fiction novel for one Gimli woman. Evergreen School Division teacher Gail Kreutzer, and Elspeth Cameron, well-known Canadian historical biography recently published the book A Tale of Two Divas: The Curious Adventures of Jean Forsyth and Edith J. Miller in Canada’s Edwardian West. The book chronicles the life of two Canadian singers, their philanthropic activity and for one, her famous performance for the King of England.” —The Interlake Spectator
“Cameron creates a compelling fictional narrative (based on factual documents Kreutzer obtained) of significant events in the singers’ lives. Her novelistic ingenuity brings the characters, their manners and their thoughts to life” —The Express Weekly
“A Tale of Two Divas, by author and retired Brock English teacher Elspeth Cameron, tells the story of two Canadian singers who begin as soloists in church choirs but move on to more spectacular careers.” —St. Catharine’s Standard
“A Tale of Two Divas, which entertains as much as it informs, also provides insight into the lives of Western Canadian women at the time and their roles in society. Cameron describes it as a book of women’s history, social history and cultural history.” —The Hamilton Spectator
About the Author
Elspeth Cameron is the author of three award-winning biographies: Hugh MacLennan: a Writer’s Life (1981), which won the Canadian Biography Award for that year and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award, Irving Layton: A Portrait (1985), and Earle Birney: A Life (1994). Her 1997 memoir No Previous Experience: A Memoir of Love and Change won the W.O. Mitchell Literary Prize. Her biography of two Toronto sculptors in And Beauty Answers: The Life of Frances Loring and Florence Wyle (2007), was shortlisted for the 2008 Toronto Book Awards. She was also the recipient of the UBC Medal for Canadian Biography in 1981 and the City of Vancouver Book Award in 1995. She has taught English in Canadian Studies at Concordia University and the University of Toronto, and was a professor in the English Language and Literature Department at Brock University.