Press Release Headlines

'P.S. Don't Tell Your Mother': A Story of Love, Tolerance and Lessons Learned Between a 13-Year-Old Girl and Her Irish-Canadian Nana

VANCOUVER, May 7, 2010 — Margo Bates' debut novel, P.S. Don't Tell Your Mother, brings to life the rough-and-tumble world of Canada's frontier northwest in the late 50s and early 60s. Part fact, part fiction, P.S. Don't Tell Your Mother is based on hundreds of letters Margo exchanged with her strong-willed Irish-Canadian grandmother, Nana Noonan.

In the book, which centers on day-to-day life in Nana Noonan's hometown of Telkwa, B.C. (population 852), readers are immediately drawn into the small-town goings-on through Nana's letters to her granddaughter, Maggie Mulvaney. Maggie likes it that Nana is Irish. But she has a temper. The one thing that really gets Nana going is Telkwa's only Jehovah's Witness. "That Damn Jehovah!" is the incessant phrase in the hundreds of letters Nana sends. Living 150 miles apart, Nana and her letters show Maggie the human aspects of life. The Jehovah's Witness is hell-bent on saving Nana. His high hopes on salvation equal her intent to remain as she is: hell-bent on being herself. After all, she is an Anglican.

To Nana, the Jehovah's Witness is not just trying to impose his religion — he also represents an undercurrent in northern and rural Canada in the 1960s — prejudice. He doesn't like Nana's best friend, a native Indian woman named Tyee Mary. In this humourous and touching tale, Margo Bates shows how her Nana stands up to prejudice in the north. She does it the only way she knows how — using her Irish temper and some fine-tuning with a shotgun.

Nana tells Maggie that it is important to be fair to your fellow humans — as long as they don't drive you to do something foolish. Maggie thinks about the lessons learned at Nana's knee. She writes back and offers suggestions on how Nana might better deal with the Jehovah's Witness.

The townsfolk place bets on Nana and the Jehovah's Witness and when they will have their next "set to." Nana doesn't disappoint. Cash exchanges hands on a fairly regular basis.

Only two people visit Nana more often than her family: Constable Reems of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and her ill-fated devotee, who visits every Saturday, rain, shine, sleet or snow. Nana and the Jehovah's Witness reach a stalemate one fall day in 1960. Nana, her Irish temper and accuracy with a gun get the better of her … and "That Damn Jehovah."

Gloria Macarenko, Anchor at CBC Television News, praised the book: "I love the way Margo Bates captures the essence and eccentricities of life in a small northern town, as she highlights the conspiratory relationship between a young girl and her kooky grandmother. As someone who grew up in the North, I can relate to the quirky characters and comical scenarios that are so much a part of small town life. Everyone needs a bit of Nana in their lives!"

P.S. Don't Tell Your Mother

Hardcover, soft cover 6×9
Approximately 196 pages
ISBN: 9781420890754
$13.95 retail price
Available at and

About the Author

You can take the girl out of the north, but you can't take the north out of the girl. Who would want to? Margo Bates was born and raised in British Columbia's Pacific Northwest. She is the owner of a Vancouver-based public relations firm, and lives in the Sunny South with her husband and family.

Besides writing and public speaking, Margo's hobbies include gourmet cooking, photography and travel. She invites you to visit her blog, and follow her on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

P.S. Don't Tell Your Mother is available in paperback, e-book and audio book format. Her second book in the P.S. series, Queen of the Gated Community, is due in the autumn of 2010. She's currently working on her third novel. A compilation of family memories, recipes and anecdotes is in her cookbook, Favourite Recipes from the Telkwa Cafe, which will be released in the spring of 2010.

EDITORS: For review copies or interview requests, contact:
Laura Eckstein
Tel: 317.536.3775
Fax: 317.536.3775
Email: Email
(When requesting a review copy, please provide a street address.)

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