The Way Lies North, by Jean Rae Baxter

Reviewed by Ruth Nicholson, UE, Hamilton Branch President and Teacher/Librarian at Kilbride Public School, Halton District School Board

Hamilton author, Jean Rae Baxter has just had her young adult novel, The Way Lies North, shortlisted on the OLA (Ontario Library Association) Red Maple part of the Forest of Reading program. This is a huge accomplishment as many Ontario schools participate in this reading competition. The students must read at least five out of the ten chosen books to be able to vote for their favourite book and ultimately their favourite author at the end of April ’09. The listing of Jean’s novel is good news for all of us as many intermediate readers (grade 7-9) will be learning more about the Loyalist experience as they read this book.

The Way Lies North is the story of fifteen year old Charlotte Hooper who is separated from her sweetheart, Nick who has joined with the Rebel side. As the situation in the Mohawk Valley becomes more violent between the Loyalists and the Sons of Liberty, Charlotte and her family decide to begin the difficult journey north to Fort Haldimand (Kingston area). There are many harrowing and emotional experiences during this journey that extend to the end of the book. Charlotte, her family and the collection of refugees heading north are aided by the local Oneidas, who become part of the Iroquois confederacy. This novel is rich in both history and drama as the reader tread the many paths led by Charlotte.

This is novel is well liked in my school, Kilbride Public, amongst the grade 7 and 8 readers. They are currently reading historical fiction novels and everyone wants The Way Lies North. There are no copies to be had at our intermediate end of the school and we have at least a fifteen copies. Jean introduced us to her book last fall when it was first launched and she led a very interesting writers’ workshop for our students. I highly reccommend this book for both young and old adults.

Check out Jean Rae Baxter’s web site at:

The Way Lies North is available at local book stores such as Chapters/Indigo.



Author: Jean Rae Baxter – A short biography.
Title: The Way Lies North
Publisher: Ronsdale Press, Vancouver, BC
Pages: 340
ISBN: 978-1-55380-048-4
Year: 2007