The Asquinn Twins

The Asquinn Twins: Frontier Life/ Where the Trail Forks
Heather Radford

The Asquinn Twin books of which Frontier Life and Where the Trail Forks are books one and two are stories of the Asquinn family as they arrive from Wales in Northern Ontario to preach the word of God in the wilderness.

There were a lot of people who came as missionaries in the earlier years of settling Canada and particularly the North. Many came from the fringes of Great Britain to a place where they thought they could do more good. Wales provided its share of ministers after the Great Revival.

These books start a generation after that Revival in 1945. The family travels to Canada and then drives North to find a town to set up their church. They find Forest Lake, a tiny community in Ontario’s North and settle in. Not everything is perfect because the Asquinn’s evil cousins already live there.

I read these books with some interest as they were written by a local author. The stories are interesting, but not as developed as I would like to have seen. For books that are about mission work and spreading the Gospel, I was surprised that the older boys’ coming to Jesus was treated perfunctorily and with little emotion. I would also loved to have been able to spend more time with the family and the twins as they grew up to get to know them as characters instead of pieces being moved to forward the plot.

The cousins are there as a foil to the goodness of the Asquinn’s but they are exaggerated and cartoonish in their evil. I think just plain stories of how the twins grew up and found their place would be more effective.

I don’t want to suggest that these books have no value. They are lovingly written and well polished and presented. These would be good books to have at the cottage for youngsters to read in the evening or on rainy days.

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