Beyond the Trees: An Arctic Experience relates the experiences of Monica, who goes from the Caribbean to Canada to attend McGill University. There she meets an Austrian, Erich, also a student and despite the differences in age, culture and language, they fall in love. This is in the 1960s when racial tensions are high in America and inter-racial marriages are uncommon. However, the pair forges ahead with a romance that overcomes prejudice, anger and discrimination, and they are married. Upon graduation Erich takes a job in the North West Territories as the Chief Social Worker and the family, which now includes a toddler and another baby in the womb, moves to Frobisher Bay, just 250 miles south of the Arctic Circle. The backdrop of the frozen northern landscape, so different and in such a contrast to the lush Caribbean landscape of blue seas, sky and hot temperatures, makes Monica stressed and consequently the marriage heads towards breaking point. This story captures the rhythms of daily life of a young Caribbean woman and other southerners in the remote Arctic community, and the adventures, challenges, and humorous anecdotes which come with life in such circumstances.
Monica Newlands was born Monica Scott in Barbados and has lived, studied, and worked in Quebec, the Canadian Arctic, Newfoundland, Uganda, Kenya and Australia. She holds B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from McGill University and a B.Ed. degree from Memorial University in Newfoundland. She taught for many years at Combermere School in Barbados. She is currently the owner of a successful floristry business Quality FlowersA" in Barbados, which she and a partner founded when they both retired early from teaching. While this is her first published book, she has manuscripts in progress about her times in Africa and children's stories which she read to her own children.