This is a great story by a writer from Ottawa. I have been very unaware of this author until now. I have recently picked up a book by this writer, and I will be reading as many of her books as I can put my hands on. I just love reading Canadian novels during the summer that are different and spectacular in its own way. Canada is so full of authors like that. I feel very grateful to be a Canadian and part of the Canadian Book Review Challenge.
In a small prairie school in 1925, Connie Flood helps a backward student, Michael Graves, learn how to read. Observing them and darkening their lives is the principal, Parley Burns, whose strange behavior culminates in an attack so disturbing its repercussions continue to the present day.
Connie’s niece, Anne, tells the story. She is impelled by curiosity about her dynamic, adventurous aunt and her more conventional mother. She revisits Connie’s past and her mother’s broken childhood. In the process, she reveals the enigma of Parley Burns and the mysterious (and unrelated) deaths of two young girls.
As the novel moves deeper into their lives, the triangle of principal, teacher, student opens into other emotional struggles until a sudden, capsizing love thrusts Anne herself into a newly independent life.
This spellbinding story is set in Saskatchewan and the Ottawa Valley. It crosses generations and cuts to the bone. It probes the roots of obsessive love and hate, how the hurts and desires of childhood persist and are passed on as if in the blood.
It also lays bare the urgency of discovering what we were never told about the past. And it celebrates the process of becoming who we are in a world full of startling connections that lie just out of sight.
I loved this story from start to finish! I will be reviewing His Whole Life next.