Willa is a thirteen-year-old orphan shipped to the new world in 1795. Resourceful and strong-willed, she survives many hardships before travelling on foot from Hudson's Bay to Fort Edmonton with native companions who show her a genuinely "new" world.
Life doesn't look promising for Willa when her family is wiped out by the London plague. Her uncaring uncle ships her to York Factory on Hudson's Bay, scarcely expecting her to survive the trip. But she's stronger than he knows. Not only does she make it to the new world, but she also survives unscrupulous thieves by going to work for Master George, the fort commander, and by befriending Amelia, the aboriginal cook. Through her successful work and the support of Amelia, Willa begins to be something she has never dreamed of--a strong and independent person.
After Willa refuses Master George's surprise offer of marriage, she decides she must leave again. As Amelia's relatives lead her across the northern wilderness to Fort Edmonton, they show her a land of great beauty and teach Willa how to live in accord with this natural world.
Barbara Demersworks as a literary and scholarly editor in Edmonton. She has also been a developer of distance-education materials for the past 14 years. Willa's New Worldis her first book.