It was a snowy, stormy night, that
February 23, 1918, when the sturdy S.S.
Florizel steamed out of St. John's harbor,
bound for Halifax and New York. Captain
William Martin, cautious and competent
skipper, encountered thick ice and heavy winds
as he headed down the trecherous
Newfoundland coast. But these circumstances
did not account for the ship's slow speed.
Just before dawn, over nine hours after leaving
port, Caption Martin ran hisship full steam onto
the rocks just north of Cape race.
But that was only the beginning of a long and
gruelling drama. As the ship slowly
disintegrated, and passengers and crew
desparately tried to save themselves. Men,
women and children were washed overboard,
or killed from exposure, or fatally trapped
below deck. From the shore helpless fishermen
watched in horror. Twenty-seven hours after
striking the reef the daring rescue took place.
Of the 138 on board, seventeen passengers
and twenty-seven crew members survived.
In a Winter's Tale Cassie Brown retells in
chilling detail the story of the wreck, the
rescue and the enquiry that followed. And she
proposes, for the first time, the real reason for
this senseless disaster.
Cassie Brown was a Newfoundlander, born
and bred. A successful writer of stage and
radio plays, she was a reporter and columnist
for the Daily News in St. John's for seven
years. Her own works include Death on the
Ice and Standing Into Danger.
"Cassie Brown has the instincts of a true
raconteur and the rare ability to allow a
good story to unfold without stridently
intruding her own views into it." - THE
"A Winter's Tale will do down in history as
one of the great contributions to
Newfoundland literature... captures the
tragedy and despair of the ordeal..." - THE
ST. JOHN'S EVENING TELEGRAM
"...all the elements of a triller; suspense,
disaster, mystery and death...Cassie
Brown unravels this yarn with the
vividness of a folklorist recreating local
history." - BOOKS IN CANADA
"A tale of shipwreck to rival that of the
Titanic in excitement and suspense." -
QUILL AND QUIRE