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Heritage House Publishing Spring 2021

Always Pack a Candle
A Nurse in the Cariboo-Chilcotin
By (author): Marion McKinnon Crook
Marion McKinnon Crook


Heritage House - Victoria



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


General Trade
May 25, 2021
$22.95 CAD


9in x 6 in

Page Count:

288 pages
Heritage House
Memoirs|True stories: general|Health, illness and addiction: social aspects|Rural communities|Gender studies: women and girls|Nursing|Community nursing|Social and cultural history|c 1960 to c 1969

The true story of an adventurous young nurse who provided much-needed health care to the rural communities of the Cariboo-Chilcotin in the 1960s.

In 1963, newly minted public health nurse Marion McKinnon arrived in the small community of Williams Lake in BC's Cariboo region. Armed with more confidence than experience, she got into her government-issued Chevy—packed with immunization supplies, baby scales, and emergency drugs—and headed out into her 9,300-square-kilometre territory, inhabited by ranchers; mill workers; and many vulnerable men, women, and children who were at risk of falling through the cracks of Canada's social welfare system.

At twenty-two, a naïve yet enthusiastic Marion relied entirely on her academic knowledge and her common sense. She doled out birth control and parenting advice to women who had far more life experience than she. She routinely dealt with condescending doctors and dismissive or openly belligerent patients. She immunized school children en masse and made home visits to impoverished communities. She drove out into the vast countryside in freezing temperatures, with only a candle, antifreeze, chains, and chocolate bars as emergency equipment.

In one year, Marion received a rigorous education in the field. She helped countless people, made many mistakes, learned to recognize systemic injustice, and even managed to get into a couple of romantic entanglements. Always Pack a Candle is an unforgettable and eye-opening memoir of one frontline worker's courage, humility, and compassion.

Marion McKinnon Crook is a nurse, an educator, and the author of more than fifteen books. She began writing short stories in the 1960s while working as a public health nurse in the Cariboo. In addition to her nursing degree, McKinnon Crook holds a master's in liberal studies, and a PhD in education. Now a full-time writer, she lives on BC's Sunshine Coast with her dog and cat, who hate each other. For more information, visit marioncrookauthor.com.

Targeted print, online, and broadcast media outreach:

  • Coast Reporter (Sunshine Coast), The Torch, Vancouver Sun, BC BookWorld, 49th Shelf, Read Local BC, CBC North by Northwest, CBC Daybreak North (Prince George), CBC Victoria (Sunshine Coast), News 1130 Book Shelf


  • Author reading at Gibson's Library
  • Book signings at Sechelt Library, Vancouver Public Library


  • BC BookWorld
  • BC Studies
  • Canada's History
  • Facebook Ads
  • Social media campaign via author's website and Facebook page

Promotion to the BC History of Nursing Society, nursing associations, BC historical societies, Sunshine Coast Festival

Marketing + promo deliverables:

  • Electronic ARCs/ blads
  • Online banner
  • Press release

For more information contact
[email protected]

"At its core, history is about storytelling ... Crook effectively employs a literary style that kept me engaged through the entire memoir." —Sean Graham, host, History Slam Podcast

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Also Available

Cariboo–Chilcotin Irene Stangoe 9781895811124 $12.95 CAD Jun 26, 2009
A Mill Behind Every Stump Marianne Van Osch 9781772031164 $19.95 CAD May 21, 2018
Heart of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Diane Wilson 9781894974080 $14.95 CAD Apr 26, 2006

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