Book Review: Trillium by M.L.Holton

I enjoy reading books.  My interests, in particular, are around health & wellness, history, and food & wine.  When I can find a fictional book that covers history as a backdrop, and then add in food & wine, that makes me very interested to read it.  When I was contacted by Canadian author, M.L.Holton, to read her latest novel “Trillium” that covers these topics, plus that the book is based in part on Canadian history and the Niagara region, I heartily agreed.

The Plot


Without giving away what happens, I can tell you that the book starts before we have the Confederation of Canada. The British and French are warring in Southern Ontario across the Niagara region.  We are introduced to Colonel Tom Hartford from the British side, who after winning in the war is provided with a plot of land in the Niagara region.  He is not a farmer but learns with help from his native friend Maaka.  He plants his roots and his legacy begins.

Time progresses and the Niagara region grows with industry and agriculture, including grapes to make wine.  We read about the Hartford and the more recent Irish O’Sullivan family arriving in the Niagara region.  M.L. Holton fills us in with details of their families, their different points of view of success and family, their Italian labourers, and how these two families become intertwined together like grapevines.

And of course there is wine; a vineyard planted with a special hybrid grape by the Hartford’s and their successful ice-wine, and the opposing O’Sullivan winery with their still wines.

The story covers 250 years of history with many characters that come and go, leading us to the final cast of characters.  Keep the families straight in your mind as there are many people mentioned, and pay attention to details as they may play a part as the book progresses to a climax.

I appreciate that M.L. Holton covers Canadian history with the fighting along the now Canadian-US border.  If you live in Toronto or Ottawa areas, I suggest that you take a trip down to Niagara and visit our forts and hear about our history.  I visited 2 years ago and it made me appreciate the details in the beginning of the book more.  M.L. Holton also mentions more recent history with discussions of new technologies like computers and cell phones, and diseases that afflict many people and how we deal with them.

The print and e-book editions are available via

Here is a book you may want to consider to gift someone who enjoys historical fiction, Ontario / Canadian history, or wine. Or gift yourself.

Author: mywinepal
Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings, restaurant reviews, and world travel. Enjoy life with me. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.