Author: Frances Greenslade
Review: Another tear jerk-er for sure. The story started out with a bit of foreshadowing and I knew it wasn’t going to be a happy go lucky type of book. The picture the author paints is of a family that has problems, but for the most part works them out and continues to enjoy their relationships. Of course the point of view is that of one of the children so memories surface from time to time of other then happy moments. Other moments that leads the reader to believe that everything wasn’t as it seemed.
The pacing was great until the second half where it slowed a bit with letters that pushed the story ahead. The letters I felt slowed the story down, but it did give the reader vital information they would have missed without them. Love and loss are part of life. It just seems that some people get the short end of the straw more often than others. No indoor plumbing in the late 1960’s WOW, I wouldn’t like living in the bush. But that wasn’t their biggest problem by far.
I enjoyed this book and the ending was bitter sweet. I cried and I laughed and I thought about my relationship with my sisters. Would we have been able to depend on each other in this same situation? That is a tough one having never faced such challenges as the two girls in this book do. If you enjoy beautifully written tales of growing up, love, loss and depending on those closest to you, you will love this book.
Publisher: Expected publication: May 15th 2012 by Free Press (first published August 23rd 2011)
Quick Review: 4 Stars out of 5.
Where Did I Read the Book: Sent by the publisher for review.
Synopsis: For sisters Maggie and Jenny growing up in the Pacific mountains in the early 1970s, life felt nearly perfect. Seasons in their tiny rustic home were peppered with wilderness hikes, building shelters from pine boughs and telling stories by the fire with their doting father and beautiful, adventurous mother. But at night, Maggie—a born worrier—would count the freckles on her father’s weathered arms, listening for the peal of her mother’s laughter in the kitchen, and never stop praying to keep them all safe from harm. Then her worst fears come true: Not long after Maggie’s tenth birthday, their father is killed in a logging accident, and a few months later, their mother abruptly drops the girls at a neighbor’s house, promising to return. She never does. With deep compassion and sparkling prose, Frances Greenslade’s mesmerizing debut takes us inside the devastation and extraordinary strength of these two girls as they are propelled from the quiet, natural freedom in which they were raised to a world they can’t begin to fathom. Even as the sisters struggle to understand how their mother could abandon them, they keep alive the hope that she is fighting her way back to the daughters who adore her and who need her so desperately. Heartbreaking and lushly imagined, Shelter celebrates the love between two sisters and the complicated bonds of family. It is an exquisitely written ode to sisters, mothers, daughters, and to a woman’s responsibility to herself and those she loves.
Author Biography: I was born in the Niagara Peninsula and grew up playing in the orchards and vineyards around our family's hobby farm. I can remember climbing under the thickest cover of grape vines to read and write stories in the long grass there. I wrote my first novel at age 10 when we moved to Winnipeg. The story involved an attic,a girl and a mystery. I still have a fascination with attics and abandoned houses today. In fact they haunt me in recurring dreams.
I'm also fascinated with the idea of home and shelter and how our mothers are our first "home." My first two books are A Pilgrim in Ireland and By the Secret Ladder, both non-fiction memoirs.
My latest book is a novel, Shelter, about two sisters whose mother suddenly leaves them to billet with a family friend in a small BC town, telling them she's going to cook in a logging camp and then doesn't return.