Nfld. & Labrador

Ida Linehan Young's The Stolen Ones wins N.L. Reads

The novel beat out three other books to win the fifth annual competition.

Novel beat three other books to win the 5th annual competition

Ida Linehan Young's novel The Stolen Ones has won the 2022 N.L. Reads competition. (Submitted by Ida Linehan Young)

The results are in, and the winner of the fifth annual N.L. Reads competition is Ida Linehan Young's The Stolen Ones.

The book has taken the crown as the "must-read" book by Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries, beating out three other novels to become this year's champion. 

"I'm so excited! I can't believe it," said Young, who says she's been given a major confidence boost by the win.

"It's validating your ability to be an author and that people respect you as a writer. So in many ways it makes me feel like I can write. Everybody second-guesses themselves all the time," she said.

"I'm just so grateful for all the people that supported me."

The Stolen Ones beat three other books to win this season's N.L. Reads. (Flanker Press)

The winner was decided by people who voted for their favourite of four books between November and February.

Young said she had no idea she was in the top spot, but throughout the four-month campaign she was actively pushing her book on social media, creating posts and messaging people to remind them to vote.

She said she's also grateful for her fans, who she called "the best supporters."

"You can have the best product ever in the world but if you don't have people that believe in you, then you only have the best product in the world but only you know it's the best," she said.

Two generations of family

The Stolen Ones is the story of Darlene Carter, a woman grappling with the sudden loss of her mother while raising her teenage daughter against the backdrop of a pandemic.

Before Darlene's mother died, she'd been investigating the family's history and her journey brings the Boston-born Carters to Newfoundland.

Over the course of the novel, the mother and daughter unearth a family mystery of how two Americans are related to the Nolan family.

The Stolen Ones is also the final book in Young's quartet, set at the turn of the century in outport Newfoundland and Labrador.

Young's book was competing against Some People's Children by Bridget Canning, All I Ask by Eva Crocker, and We, Jane by Aimee Wall.

The books touched on a number of themes, like family secrets, sexual violence, access to medical care and privacy.

For the four months of competition, libraries in the province had unlimited copies of e-books for each of the four featured titles so as many people as possible could read along.

Newfoundland and Labrador collections librarian Emily Gushue provided some insight as to why Young's book took the top spot in this year's competition.

"Ida Linehan Young has always been a fan favourite of Newfoundland library patrons. I looked at some of the circulation data and her books always, always go and they're very popular," said Gushue, who also heads the N.L. Reads committee.

She said another factor in this year's N.L. Reads competition was that two of the books were from debut novelists, so they were less established.

"They may not have that built-in fan base with their books already. And this is actually one of a series that has already been read a fair bit.

"For a lot of readers [The Stolen Ones] was like an anticipated release in the first place."

One of the purposes behind N.L. Reads is to create a provincewide book club, and Gushue said despite the challenges the Omicron wave posed, she felt they still managed to reach and connect with people.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


Elizabeth Whitten

Freelance contributor

Elizabeth Whitten is a journalist and editor based in St. John's. When she’s not chasing her next story, she's cuddling with her dog and reading a good book.


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