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Central Alberta author sets story in Red Deer

The Widows’ Pact to be released in January
The Widows’ Pact , by Jenna Hanger, writing as J.L. Cole, to be released Jan. 25, 2023. (Contributed)

Red Deerians will read about some familiar landmarks in a soon-to-be released novel by a central Alberta author.

The Widows’ Pact, by Jenna Hanger, writing as J.L. Cole, is set in Red Deer, where Hanger lived for four years and was inspired to write the first chapter after noticing an elderly woman sitting alone at the cinema.

It’s Hanger’s second novel which follows an unexpected friendship between two widows. The author said that while some scenes are heavy, there are also some laughs.

“You’d think it would be quite sad, but it actually has a lot of humour in it, and their friendship is kind of unique. It’s kind of a fun dynamic as you get to know the two women and their stories,” Hanger said.

One woman is in her early 70s and the other is in her late 20s. One searches for the meaning of life, and the other tries to learn to go with the flow. One has a dark secret, and the other a troubling past.


Hanger’s debut novel, a romance entitled Silver Heights, was released in 2020, and was awarded the 2020 Romance Runner-up Maxy Award.

“(The Widows’ Pact) is still in the genre of women’s fiction but it has more of an suspense element. It’s more based on the friendship of the two characters.”

Most of the action happens in Red Deer where they both live. They walk the trails around Bower Ponds, and visit the local shopping mall that local readers will recognize as Bower Place.

Hanger said Red Deer is the biggest city where she’d feel comfortable living because it’s still a place people can quickly travel from one end to the other. It was also the right size so her characters could often run into each other.

Just like her characters, the author said she also met people in Red Deer who made a difference in her life — the members Red Deer Writers’ Inc.

“They really helped me, encouraged me to take my creative writing seriously and to focus on that first novel. I definitely don’t think I would have finished my first novel without the Red Deer Writers’ Inc.”


Hanger said if she had to describe The Widows’ Pact it would be in the vein of Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty, with a hint of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman.

But Hanger’s books are set in Canada.

“When I read books about different places it transports me there. As a Canadian author, it’s been really important to me to keep my characters in Canada, in Alberta.”

The Widows’ Pact will be published Jan. 25 by The Wild Rose Press and be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes books, Nook, and The Wild Rose Press Bookstore.

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