A time of light and shadow

This courageous book is a journey into the restless nature of travel itself, both in contemporary times and long before cellphones, Google maps, and Trip Advisor, when foreign worlds were farther away and it was rare for a single woman to travel alone, especially as an aid worker. Ella’s willingness to be touched and changed by the people she meets—both as a young woman and as an older woman, still on the go decades later--is a wonderful tonic for cynicism. Reading A Time of Light and Shadow reminded me of how to walk through our beautiful, wounded world: open-eyed, open-hearted, mindful of both gifts received and debts incurred.

Karen Connelly, author of The Lizard Cage, Burmese Lessons and Touch The Dragon


A Time of Light and Shadow is a courageous story of compassion, self-discovery, and cross-cultural immersion, amidst a backdrop of some of the world’s most fascinating wonders and devastating humanitarian crises. Ella Harvey’s expansive journey seamlessly weaves the exploration of the external and internal, opening new perspective into the depths of the human spirit and what it means to live a meaningful life.

Michael Schauch, author of A Story of Karma: Finding Love and Truth in the Lost Valley of the Himalaya


This lyrical, big-hearted book is about a woman living in the moment - whatever that particular moment is. Ella lives large, recklessly falls in love a few times and takes us on the ride. A Time of Light and Shadow is multi-layered, combining sobering experiences of humanitarian work with wanderlust… and the vivid intensities of life on the road.

Louisa Waugh, author of Hearing Birds Fly, Meet Me in Gaza, and nomadic humanitarian


Encounters on the FRONT LINE

Powerful and poignant, intimate and insightful. The careful reader will learn a great deal about Cambodia’s recent history and current culture as the Khmer people struggle to deal with the unfathomable trauma that continues to shape them.
Bill Herod, Human Rights Worker, Cambodia


This is one of the few books I read everything written there. I can hardly put it aside to do other things. I like the way you tell the story- I can visualize what it looks like and how you feel. I am also moved by the fact that you carry the Cambodia history with you and return to this country to explore more. I am very familiar with the story you tell as I myself am a victim of the war and I lived my life in the border camps of displaced persons for over a decade. Thank you for documenting such compelling experiences.

Samneang Moul, Cambodia


This book is more than a personal journey; it's a universal journey into the meaning of compassion in Cambodia's deeply tragic story.    

Kari Grady Grossman, Human Rights Activist, Cambodia  


Encounters on the Front Line is…a story well and passionately told. To read this book is also to witness to our times.

Kim Echlin, Writer: The Disappeared

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A gripping book. The telling is so matter-of-fact and simply stated that it takes a while before the stark reality of the tale sinks in. And it does. Through it all, the author is there with you, but does not take over the narrative.

Jeff Dwyer, Writer 


This is a book to read in small measures to understand the vast magnitude of the human heart. 
Terry Ann Carter,  Poet


A riveting, enlightening read that brims with perspective. Harvey writes with great honesty, passion and clarity.     

Woody Wheeler, Environmentalist


Elaine nous les décrit avec beaucoup de profondeur et de poésie. Un livre que toute personne intéressée au travail humanitaire et au Cambodge devrait lire.

Élisabeth Carrier, International Nurse


Ernest Hemingway's great short story, "In Another Country," speaks in a very understated manner of the horrors of war, from the setting of a hospital near the front. There is a great deal of Hemingway's style in "Encounters on the Front Line: a Cambodia Memoir," as Elaine Harvey deftly and kindly understates much of what she saw in Cambodia. A touching and evocative memoir that never overstates or belabours.   

Gerald Weaver, Writer 

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In her book, Encounters on the Front Line, Elaine Harvey ventures three times into the shattered world of Pol Pot’s Cambodia, drawn to minister to the immediate victims of war and later, to a generation living the aftershocks. As witness to some of the world’s suffering, but also to deep caring and resourcefulness, Elaine cleanly carves to the bone of our personal connection to the harms and virtues of humanity. 
Willa Cannon, Nurse

In Encounters on the Front Line Harvey asks burning questions that are both universal and personal. She may not have found the answers she sought during the thirty year span of her book, but she has shared her profound experience of Cambodia with unflinching honesty, in luminous language that cuts to the bone.
Francine Volker, Teacher


J’ai beaucoup apprécié te lire… j’ai eu parfois peur pour toi…. Je t’ai trouvé parfois téméraire… parfois courageusement déterminée mais en tout temps j’ai senti ton immense souci des autres, ta sensibilité envers les injustices et les douleurs de ce monde. Te lire a été un immense plaisir.

Solange Vallieres, Nurse


Encounters on the Front Line is a passionate, graceful book that stays with you over time.

Charlotte Harvey, Teacher

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Encounters on the Front Line is powerful in all respects—emotion and language, societal and personal, poetic yet factual—It is at once, depressing and uplifting.  In the second part of the book the Front Line has simply shifted. It dangles the possibility that spiritual gains can be made even in such a difficult environment—it's conclusion being the pebble in the pond and the ripple effect.     

Randy Kaneen, Writer


This pilgrimage to Cambodia is a moving tale of intrigue, terror, amazement and humility! Harvey’s thoughtful, honest and insightful reflections are beautifully and poetically written.          

Bev Worbets, Nurse


An amazing travel story in Cambodia in the 80's and beyond. It’s not a travelogue but a multilayered personal journey.   

Pamela Gutrath, Photographer


It is wonderful to see the perspective of a front-line nurse with her passionate, eloquent and insightful account of this time and place in history.

Paul Hundal, Lawyer 

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Harvey encounters people on the front lines and attempts to define her own front line. The writing is emotionally compelling. Cambodia is painted vividly and her reactions, both joy and bewilderment are visceral.    

Rose Seiler Scott, Writer


A moving portrait of one woman's experience contextualized in, and across, time and place. Harvey's voice soars as she negotiates the challenges of her work, heart and what it means to do front line work.

Keeley Nixon, Web Design  


This is a very engaging book and I could hardly put it down.

John Ward, Scientist


From eating morning glory to the tuk-tuk drivers' methods of navigating oncoming traffic, Elaine's descriptions were spot on!

Veronica Allan, Teacher


Yours is a story we seldom hear Elaine…a woman humanitarian, eye-witness to the traumatic front line brutality of war and the following years of healing that is necessary for all who lived through it- including those who chose to be there to help and whose unseen scars lay heavy on their soul. I thank you for your insights…and sharing.
Sharon Urdahl, Artist, Poet

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There is no definitive answer to Harvey's question when travelling back to Cambodia and how could there be? She had an experience that will always be a part of her "as hard as shrapnel embedded in flesh, as soft as the fragrance of jasmine, and as perplexing as the beguiling smile of its people, the Khmer.
Mary Ann Moore, Poet


I could not put this book down. Visualizing the horrors that Elaine Harvey witnessed in Cambodia starting in 1980 was staggering.
Josie Harrigan, Fitness Leader


If I could sum up this memoir in one word, it would be "inspiring." Not only is Harvey brave and makes me want to be braver in my own life, but she found a way to portray this in her experiences without sounding too full of herself. I appreciated that.

Melissa Welch: USA, Goodreads Giveaways

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Elaine's sensitive and caring manner is vividly described in this story of her journey helping refugees and others less fortunate. Loved this book.

Jeanette Funke, Nursing Instructor


An inspiring, emotional, and spiritual book about a Canadian nurse who volunteers in Cambodia and learns a great deal about herself and life while there. 

Jill Dobbe, Writer


This book left me shaken and with many questions about my own call to serve. Congratulations on the creation of a truly valuable book that is so relevant and timeless.

Joanne Chaffey, Nurse


Encounters on the Front Line is an absorbing and beautiful memoir. Elaine Harvey not only takes us on a journey through the beauty and the horror of historical and contemporary Cambodia, she also takes us on a journey of the human heart.

Norah Wakula                                                                                      

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 A powerful read. The compelling, true story of one woman's brave service as a nurse in Cambodia and her return to a rebuilt nation twenty years later.    

Bennett Coles, Publisher


This is a very well written memoir and an intimate picture of a Cambodia and its people.
Chanticleer Book Review

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