This is a wonderful story that is tender as it is tough. It has a very strange balance of ups and downs. But they all work to make this a great story!
Sinopaki lives with her Blackfoot family in the bush far from civilization until she is delivered to St. Mark’s Residential School for Girls by government decree. There, she finds herself in an alien universe.
Newly named Rose Marie, Sinopaki must adapt to the world of the Sisters of Brotherly Love, an order of nuns dedicated to saving Indigenous children from damnation.
Life under the sharp eye of Mother Grace becomes an endless series of torments and all too soon her dreams warn her of unspoken dangers. Why is she haunted by vision of her parents, past crimes at the school, and Indigenous life on the plans?
In real life, she has seen the rows of plain wooden crosses behind the school, reminding her that some students don’t make it out alive.
Set during and after the Second World War, this book is about an unforgettable Blackfoot girl whose spirit is tested and an aging yet powerful nun who sees in Rose Marie her own chance at redemption.
Joan Crate brilliantly interweaves the many nuances of her powerful story, while exploring the larger themes of belief and belonging, of faith and forgiveness.
This is an unforgettable story, one that I have been thinking about a lot since I read it.
Rating: 5 stars
Irene S. Roth