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Young Jean Downer’s passion for photography continued into adulthood. After she married Norman Hills and started having children, her love for preserving her family’s history was, in great part, documented through photographs.
Jean Downer’s story starts in 1929, when she is quite young, of kindergarten age, and continues through her marriage at age 19 in 1946 to Norm Hills. The 61 years of marriage fly by and she’s grateful she and her husband developed an interest in genealogy, for she would have more than just her writing to pass on to her family after her death. Jean is quite friendly and approachable and her words pull the reader toward her. In fact, the reader wonders if he was invited to pull up a chair and have a cup of coffee because the atmosphere is as comfortable as home. The mixture of stories and personal photographs allow the reader a well-round glimpse into the life of a woman who had a lot of love to share with her family, friends, and students.
Using her father’s memoirs, the author writes what she believes could be her mother’s story. She bases the dialogue and details of the stories on her own perspective as she remembers the events, and as told to her from other family members. Some of her mother’s unpublished writings also contribute to the story Orford wants to tell. The writing is conversational and from her mother’s point of view. Including the personal family photos with captions seemingly written by her mother, the author is able to remain out of the spotlight. Her intent is for readers to know her mother’s story, and her approach accomplishes the task.
Emily-Jane Hills Orford is the youngest daughter and fourth child of Jean and Norman Hills. Orford divides her time between her family, her music studio, and her writing. She believes in writing about ordinary people. Many of her stories include the people who were most important and influential in her life, such as her mother and grandmother. Her stories and novels reflect her national pride. Her writing accomplishments include countless articles, short stories, children’s picture books about artists, musicians and Canadian personalities.
F-Stop: A Life in Pictures is a very personal and intimate look into Jean Downer Hills’, the author’s mother’s, life. The stories deal with love, life, and loss from young and old perspectives, through pictures and words. The family pictures included with the stories pull the reader in closer, so that by the last page, the reader feels part of the family, too. It is a recommended read. Reviewer: Lisa Haselton, Allbooks Reviews, www.allbooksreviewint.com.