Osoyoos author tells family tree tales from the vault

The novel is based on stories told by her grandmother Polly and, as the book title states, tells the tale of a very twisted family tree.

Osoyoos author Sandy Latka is celebrating the release of her first novel

Osoyoos author Sandy Latka has a gold sovereign she wears as a reminder of her grandmother.

The coin and her grandmother are key players in her first novel, Twisted Trees, which was recently published.

“I always wear a sovereign and they have always meant a lot to me. They played such a big part in my family’s history and in this book,” said Latka.

The story of Twisted Trees unfolds in Derbyshire, England, spanning the years between 1861 to 1934. The novel is based on stories told by her grandmother Polly and, as the book title states, tells the tale of a very twisted family tree.

“One in which brothers and sisters were encouraged to marry their step-siblings as part of a devious plan to acquire land and wealth,” said Latka. “Through all sorts of adversity the one thing that remains constant was Polly’s strength and determination and her love of family.”

Latka said her great-grandfather’s wife died after the birth of her seventh child and he re-married a widow who also had seven children. While some had married and left, there was still quite a few living at home.

“The second wife engineered this request that he had for his children of a certain amount of gold sovereigns and if her children married his children they would get twice the gold sovereigns. It worked and three of the step-siblings married,” said Latka. “It is quite the story and goes through interesting, turbulent times in England.”

Latka recorded her  90-year-old grandmother recounting the family’s twisted tree. It took her back to England to research. In the process she has learned much about herself and the family.

“My grandmother was such an inspiration and had to overcome so much. I learned you can overcome an awful lot if you keep the faith and do the right thing. My grandmother also taught me strength and the importance of family,” said Latka. “I found it extremely interesting and I believe others will too.”

Latka said it was her own family that inspired her to continue writing and get Twisted Trees published. Her granddaughter Amanda Lewis is a published author of a book of poems.

“She is 25 years old and has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair and when I was working on my book she was the catalyst that started me down the road to publishing. She introduced me to Yasmin John-Thorpe and from there it went,” said Latka. “Amanda is definitely an inspiration.”

The book is typed in larger print to make it easy to read. Latka is also pursuing putting Twisted Trees on tape and has plans for more books to create a series. She is hosting a book signing on Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. at Hooked On Books.

Just Posted

Housing provided for women and children fleeing violence in Penticton

Announcement on Friday is part of a provincewide initiative to construct additional housing.

Okanagan Dance Studio to host yard sale and market on June 1

Proceeds to support the studio’s showgroup

People’s Party of Canada leader talks B.C. trade to Penticton supporters

Maxime Bernier, head of the new federal political party, spoke at Time Winery on Friday

New Penticton group supports local seed security

Okanagan Seed Savers will be at the Farmers’ Market this Saturday selling seeds

Column: Helping the planet with xeriscaping

Eva Antonijevic is a biologist and program director of the Okanagan Xeriscape Association

B.C.’s fight to regulate bitumen through pipelines to go to Canada’s top court

BC Appeal Court judges found B.C. cannot restrict bitumen flow along Trans Mountain pipeline

Nominate your favourite businesses for the Best of the South Okanagan

Join the Penticton Western News as they celebrate the Best of the South Okanagan awards

Princeton RCMP recover stolen homework and save the grade

It’s a slightly better excuse than “the dog ate my homework.” Earlier… Continue reading

New Summerland distillery has received recognition

Alchemist Distiller won audience choice award at recent competition

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

Vancouver woman sexually assaulted after man follows her home; suspect at large

Police are looking for an Asian man in his 40s after the incident on Vancouver’s east side.

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

Rally for climate justice strikes Okanagan yet again

A handful of students were seen rallying in front of the Okanagan Science Centre

Letter: Dignity of the person and community

Poverty or homeless does not give license to lessen the dignity of one’s person

Most Read