Book One in

The McBride Chronicles Series


PROVIDENCE, the first book in The McBride Chronicles Series, tells the sweeping story of two parallel lives – a feisty, orphaned girl in England and the son of a poor fisherman in Scotland – who both journey separately to the frontier of the New World in search of a better life. After many adventures along the way, they meet in Victoria on Vancouver Island in 1862, fall in love, marry and create a family dynasty with a backdrop of British Columbia’s incredible history over the next four generations.

Containing hardship, intrigue, deception, lies and, above all, a great love affair, PROVIDENCE is guaranteed to be enjoyed by all who relish historical fiction at its finest. Why not start the McBride story now with the first book in the series – PROVIDENCE.


The general story is a tale on two parallel tracks all the way to p. 239 of this 399-page novel when the two protagonists finally meet in Victoria BC. One POV is of a girl, Jane, abandoned for some reason (likely poverty) by her mother to a Christian orphanage. The other character is the only surviving son of a fisherman’s family, Gideon. Both want to escape: Jane from the dreary and bleak life of being in the service of the wealthy, and Gideon from the dangerous life of the coastal Scottish, always in poverty, unless one big haul happens to befall them.

It is the history of the powerless and downtrodden little people of Europe. I guess Scotland is part of Europe and always will be, despite the UK nation stepping out of the EU. (By the way, the Scots currently still resist bullying by the English and a “hard” border with the EU.) Despite the odds and their young age, Jane and Gideon manage to take control of their powerless lives. Determined to manage their own lives, they seek and create opportunities for escape and experience many setbacks and traumas along the way. Well done.
This is how people indeed emigrate, and so also Gideon and Jane. They’re forced by terrible circumstances to leave their old lives behind and start a new—hopefully better—life. Well researched, is it not just a story of romance and overcoming hardship, but whoever reads it gets a good impression of a part of Canadian history and some of its people: the Anglo-Scottish. It also touches on the plight of the Indigenous in BC and the terrible attitudes of the time that caused their near-extinction, recently correctly named genocide.

As an immigrant myself, I appreciate this kind of mature story. Valerie is a competent writer. The story unfolds logically and systematically and I am rooting for the protagonists. Will they overcome the barriers to a loving relationship and the past traumas in their own lives, the absence of commitment, and the drive to stay independent?

They do indeed get together, marry and prosper. When they think they have it all: wealth, beautiful properties, and a son, their world falls apart. They separate and have to work through their grief on their own. The last chapters of the book lead the readers back to the English Oxfordshire area where Jane was born. The solution to the puzzle is hinted at in the first chapters for the careful reader, a giveaway that the author initially used to write non-fiction and true crime stories.

Valerie studied journalism and English Literature and story writing at London’s Regent Institute and is an immigrant to Canada (1968). She now lives in BC on Vancouver Island. She is semi-retired, enjoying her two grandchildren.

Review by Johanna Van in GoodReads


Valerie Green made her name writing wonderfully engaging nonfiction stories about Victoria and environs, sharing tales told by built heritage (Dunmora: The Story of a Heritage Manor House on Vancouver Island; If These Walls Could Talk: Victoria’s Houses from the Past, I and II), and class in settler culture (Above Stairs: Social Life in Upper-Class Victoria, 1843–1918), as well as most evocative memoir (Embrace the Journey: A Care Giver’s Story).

Green has now turned her capacious storytelling skills to fiction with Providence, the first volume of The McBride Chronicles (we can anticipate two more, according to Green).
Providence kicks off its dynastic-tale-to-be with the backstories, in alternating chapters, of its main characters: the British orphan (Jane) and the son of a Scottish fisher family (Gideon). The pair traverse the worlds of life in service (Jane) and life at sea and in business (Gideon), enduring travails and enjoying adventures en route to meeting in Victoria BC, falling in love, and creating a family in the 1860s. Their trials and triumphs together continue and, as BC joins Canada’s Confederation in 1871, fallout from a tragedy threatens to undo them and all they’ve created together. Truth helps them endure, create something bigger than themselves, and add another storied layer to the McBride tale, doubtless to be unveiled as the saga continues in Volume II.

Fans of Green’s detailed non-fiction will find similar strengths in this story, offering vivid particulars of life in a particular time and place (Victorian-era Victoria) that allow readers to readily imagine and inhabit the world of Providence. While there is some resolution of events at the end of Book One, enough seeds are sown to create anticipation for the tale’s continuation… in Book Two! Green knows well how to leave readers wanting more.
— Moira Dunn, author of Craigdarroch Castle in 21 Treasures.

“I instantly liked Green’s character of Jane. I particularly enjoyed her curiosity and the fact that you can feel her liveliness. Jane had my empathy from the get-go. I also really liked the hooks at the end of each section or chapter. They are well done and always made me want to keep reading.”  
— Judi Lees, author of “Lester’s Gifts“.

“This book could well become a televised series! I feel it would easily lend itself well to that.
— Theresa Laviolette, freelance editor.

Read more reviews of Providence at GoodReads.

Visit Vanessa Winn’s review of Providence, Settlers at the Edge of Empire on The British Columbia Review.

Featured Titles

Valerie Green

A Wordsmith at Work

Valerie is a Canadian author living in Victoria, British Columbia. 

Born and educated in England with a background in journalism, history, and English literature, Valerie moved to Canada in 1968, married, and raised a family while continuing an active career as a published author of over 20 nonfiction books. In addition, Valerie freelances for numerous magazines and newspapers.

“I feel devoutly thankful to have been born fond of writing.”
—Winston Churchill

Latest Blog Posts

Kind words.

One of the leading historians

In the 1990s, Valerie Green emerged as one of the leading historians of Victoria.

ABC Books BookWorld

A very capable job

Local author Valerie Green has written this very important little book (Vanished) for all the right reasons: to draw attention to a worthy cause and keep alive the memory of a precious life lost all these years ago . . . .  Green does a very capable job of recapturing that awful moment back in March, 1991.

Ian Gordon Malcomson

A born storyteller

Author Valerie Green is a born storyteller; I read this book (Vanished) from start to finish in one sitting. She compassionately relates the story that broke the hearts of both a family and a nation- the abduction of Michael Dunahee. The reader can’t help but share the unwavering belief that Michael will indeed come home

Kate Lines, Retired Chief Superintendent

Ontario Provincial Police. Criminal Profiler

Victoria’s most prolific author

Valerie Green might be Victoria’s most prolific author and historian and has no plans of slowing down.

Travis Patterson

Saanich News

Lives and breathes culture and history

Valerie Green lives and breathes culture and history.

Ivan Watson

Saanich News reporter