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When the Best Things Come in the Smallest Packages: The “Shoebox Baby” Memoir from Sharon Bruce

Sometimes the best things come in the smallest of packages.

Author Sharon Bruce shares a poignant memoir woven as creative nonfiction about the power of resiliency in the face of life's adversities. With a deft balance of heartfelt laughter, tears, sorrow, and joy, Bruce invites you along on a journey that will keep you turning the pages. Enjoy a complimentary excerpt below and join in the giveaway for $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card!

Book Details:


by Sharon Bruce

Publication Date: May 7, 2023

Genre: Memoir




Shoebox Baby is a creative non-fiction story based on the life of Susan Fenton and her family. Sue was born in Nova Scotia on a blustery winter night in a crude weather-worn shack with dirt floors. Although the doctor told Sue's mother that her baby would be dead before the morning, she made every attempt to keep her infant alive.


Sue and her siblings were born into poverty, survived the Depression and the fall-out of World War II, and contended with tuberculosis, unemployment and polio. This book is filled with family antics, joy, sorrow, laughter, and mystery, covering the trials, triumphs and hilarious exploits of the large and colourful cast of characters that is the Fenton family.


Sue's courageous determination to live a full life, regardless of the limitations others imposed on her and the circumstances that came her way, made her a remarkably resilient woman.



There was something about that turbulent winter night that sent a deep chill through Grace like no other. She felt the howling bitter ocean wind coming through the walls of the weather-worn shack she called home. Newspapers stuffed between the boards did little to keep the chill out of the air. Grace hoped that the meagre fire in the wood stove and the few old grey woollen blankets would keep her five children warm enough, and she longed for her husband Marshall.


In May of 1929, at the start of the Great Depression, Marshall and his brother Alexander were laid off from the local mine. They had to leave Pictou and found work in the sawmill in Yarmouth, three hundred miles away on the other side of the province. Poverty became the norm and food was as scarce for the Fenton’s as for most families. Grace was thankful they were still able to pay the rent on the home they lived in, even though it could be considered more of a shack than a house. So many families were homeless, and several of the less fortunate had died on the streets.


In the following three years, Marshall and Alexander could only find short-term, menial jobs that compensated minimal wages. The Fenton family was already impoverished and barely able to survive before the Depression.


Author Biography:

Writing has been Sharon's passion since childhood. At seven years old she won first prize at a local fall fair for her story about a stuffed pink elephant. Since then, she was hooked. Articles, poems and the book Beyond the Forests of Yesteryears are part of her publishing portfolio. Curiosity mixed with a love of hearing and writing unique stories about others is the subject of her work. Some call it being darn right nosey, others call it vivid creativity. During her career she worked in the social services field with individuals, families, groups and organizations to address social and cultural issues. A significant part of her job included inspirational speaking and sharing stories. Sharon was raised in Northeastern Ontario, Canada, where she resides with her husband. Together they enjoy retirement and organizing activities for seniors, which includes writing and acting out comical skits for small audiences.

Author Links:

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