Thursday, April 12, 2012


Frances Greenslade's debut novel is set in the early 1970s in Canada, a tale of two sisters who lose their father and then their mother.

Maggie, the narrator of their story, depicts their life as happy up until the death of their father, Patrick, a logger in an accident at work. Life in the 1970s for Maggie and Jenny is somewhat different than for most in the 1970s - they live with little money in a cabin in the woods and seem to be of an earlier time. There is no electricity or modern conveniences and the landscape of British Columbia is lush and wild. After their dad's death, their mother tries to find a way for them to eke out their existence, moving them in with friends, and eventually leaving them with a couple to care for them as she tries to find work.
Years pass and although their mother wrote to them at first, Maggie and Jenny have not heard anything from her in a long time. Although Bea and Tom, the couple Maggie and Jenny are sent to stay with, do provide them with the essentials, they are not loving or nurturing to the girls. When Jenny finds herself in trouble, Maggie sets out to uncover her mother's secrets and rescue her sister.

Greenslade's depiction of life in the wilds of Canada transported me to this place and time. Although what became of Jenny and Maggie's mother did not surprise me, Greenslade's ending provides closure while still allowing Maggie and Jenny to continue with their lives.

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