Autumn Greene returns to her hometown after a six-year absence and turns up, uninvited, to her sister Christine’s wedding, the daughter she conceived with her sister’s ex-fiancé in tow. Once burned, twice angry, Christine does all she can to make Autumn unwelcome, assuming another wedding disaster. A harbinger of truth, Autumn reveals all of Christine’s secrets and brings about a near-nuclear explosion of emotion and confusion among the family and wedding party. In the fallout of this strangest of romances, forgiveness emerges as the biggest challenge.
Autumn is a young woman who has transformed from a love-poem writing teenager with a crush on her high-school English teacher, to a world-weary, single working mom. Returning to her hometown brings her face-to-face withher highschool crush, forcing her to open doors to new life possibilities.
Autumn, One Spring is a humour-infused drama that takes truthfulness in relationships seriously.
"One hopes this ends up as a television series. With white and aboriginal extended families mixing, unlimited God's country settings, an officious cop, dangerous wild animals, fed-up city transplants, town gossips, weather emergencies and odd romantic pairings, it fits a formula we've known and loved before."
- Maureen Scurfield, Winnipeg Free Press
"Patti Grayson provides a rollicking good time in this novel of one small town where everybody knows too much about everybody else, and where misunderstandings and good intentions combine to mess things up."
- Quentin Mills-Fenn, On the Bookshelf, Style Manitoba
Grayson offers a "warm and genuine main character, (an) authentic portrayal of family triumphs and tensions, (and a) deftly envisioned
setting" in Autumn, One Spring.
- Leezann Freed-Lobchuk, Prairie Fire Review of Books
"Autumn, One Spring is a funny, entertaining and sincere study of relationships. You will enjoy it!"
- Cendrine Marrouat, examiner.com
Autumn, One Spring is a fascinating glimpse of small town life with all its pathos and humour. Grayson has the astounding ability to portray a lively array of characters with a deft and delicate hand. Her voice is compelling and confident; a delightful read.
- Linda Holeman, author of The Saffron Gate
Patti Grayson’s debut novel captures both the heart and quirkiness of small town life in Canada. With a strong voice, Grayson’s entertaining tale engages with its depiction of how equally infuriating and loyal family can be.
- Daria Salamon, Author of The Prairie Bridesmaid
Grayson is a master at keeping three balls in the air at once, juggling her characters as they bounce off each other, time and again. And can she write!
- Andrew Armitage, Owen Sound Sun Times
Suggested Book Club Questions for Autumn, One Spring
- Forgiveness is a hard thing to come by in the novel. Are there actions which are unforgiveable in the book? Which characters deserve the forgiveness they seek?
- Throughout the book, someone is either abandoning the wedding or in the process of crashing it. Discuss this see-saw effect and the importance of Gabriel being its fulcrum, ie: steadfast and loyal to the wedding.
- Truth and lies prevail. While Autumn blurts the truth at inopportune times, she also cannot escape the little white lie ie: lying about Alec's words on the dock. Is there merit in the little white lie? Or is truth the key to setting these characters free?
- "Regret makes life sad." Mom says in her simple way. How does regret colour Joyce's life? The other characters'?
- Winnipeg and Hematite are juxtaposed and contrasted throughout the novel in a variety of ways. Ie: Autumn sees her arrival in Winnipeg as a springboard to launch her courage to have and keep Sara. On the flip side, back in Hematite, she realizes she has never seen her boss, Dr. Jewel, in natural outdoor light while working in Winnipeg. How do these opposite pulls affect Autumn? What does it say about her character when she embraces the big city? When she returns home?
- The title, Autumn, One Spring, sets a tone of seasonal opposites. This theme is common in literature, with spring representing rebirth and fall being the season of decay. How large a role doe season and weather play in the book?
- The story is set the same week as the Chernobyl disaster. How do the events in Hematite connect to Chernobyl?
- The rugged Canadian Shield plays a part in the book. How do the iconic symbols ie: voyageur, canoe, moose etc. affect the tone of the story?
- "I could hug a stranger more readily." Autumn says when she is reunited with her father. How much does Autumn's relationship with her father influence her actions in the rest of her life?
- It has been stated that comedies end with a wedding and tragedies with a death. Considering the book ends with a wedding, are there aspects that can be considered tragic, nonetheless?
- Though Alec and Gabriel are considered best friends throughout the book, the reader rarely encounters them together. Does this strengthen or lessen their relationship in the reader's mind?
- Autumn's moral dilemma regarding Sara and her father is brought to the forefront near the end of the novel. Is Autumn justified in her actions? Project and predict the outcome for Sara as an adult.
- Gabriel's spewing of Batman quotes laced with Shakespeare is an oddity. Is he less the romantic hero or more appealing as a result?
- Autumn's habit of self-editing prevails right to the final line of the novel. Discuss this tendency with respect to her character and as a technical aspect in the structure of the story.
- Gabriel's creed, "Accept convention in literature; avoid it in life." Does he adhere to his own creed? How do other characters measure up? Does the novel itself adhere?
- Explosions occur everywhere within the confines of the text: From the coyote on the tv show Sara watches, to the blasting at the iron mine, to the tragic Chernobyl accident. Discuss this usage.
- Wedding day fantasies; wedding day horror stories. Everyone has one or the other or both. The book works hard at dispelling the fantasy. In the end, how will Christine and Alec look back on their day?
- The narrative is written in first person. There are frequent situations in which Autumn discovers the other characters collectively knowing things she doesn't. The reader is only privy to this information as Autumn discerns it. How might the book differ if written with a third person narrative? ie: if the reader knew Christine's thoughts, Gabriel's, Joyce's? Sara's?
- After Sara's seizure, Autumn says, "…I know that my capacity to love Sara is limitless; the accompanying pain is inescapable. The terrain of motherhood is as rugged as the bush surrounding Hematite." Discuss with respect to the treatment of motherhood in other Canadian and international books. Ie: Unless, A Good House, The Stone Angel, White Oleander, Angela's Ashes.
Patti Grayson is an actor and writer with a BA in English and Theatre from the University of Winnipeg. She has toured with the Manitoba Puppet Theatre and appeared in numerous film and television roles. Her first novel, Autumn, One Spring (Turnstone Press), was short listed for The Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction and the Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher at the 2011 Manitoba Book Awards. Her short fiction collection, Core Samples (Turnstone Press), also garnered nominations for two Manitoba Book Awards. Patti has worked as a school librarian, advertising copywriter, puppeteer, and actor. She lives in St. Andrew's, Manitoba with her husband and two teenage children.