Reading this book, I could hardly believe that it was the same author. The writing style was very crisp, the story moved along, and it was the sort of book that I didn't want to put down.
One of the things that I loved about this book is that it is being told by Anne, and we see things as Anne sees them, and we learn things as Anne learns them. It is truly a first-person narrative where there is no all-knowing presence giving hints as to what is to come. (Though like N icola, I did have trouble at times, remember who the "I" was that was telling the story, especially when jumping between different generations and stories.). There were a lot of layers to this story, however in the end they all came together to tell the story of a family. I could compare it to an onion, with all of the layers making up the whole, except that I don't like onions and I did like this story!
What are some of these plot layers? There is Connie, a teacher in rural Saskatchewan in 1929, struggling to teach a student with dyslexia who is gifted in other area and struggling with a creepy principal who may or may not have "interfered" with a 13-year-old student. Then in 1937, Connie is a reporter covering the murder of a young girl in the Ottawa Valley, where her life ends up linked with Anne's when her brother meets and marries a young woman who become Anne's parents (ie Connie is Anne's paternal aunt). Anne also tells us the story of her own life, and then ends with telling the story of her mother's family and of her mother, growing up with a domineering mother (Anne's grandmother). My overall impression is that Anne had to approach family history indirectly through her Aunt's story before she could get up the courage to examine her own story and the story of her direct ancestors.
But more than the plot itself (in fact I found the plot annoying at times, with implied significance to certain events fizzling out to nothing - though isn't that the way real life goes at times?), I loved seeing how all of these layers and generations and characters came together to make a whole story. This story could have been told chronologically, beginning with Anne's maternal family and their carpentry business in the Ottawa Valley intersecting with Anne's paternal family struggling in the Saskatchewan prairie; but that would have been much less interesting.
4 good books in a row (and the one that I'm reading now is interesting too) - I'm on a roll!
Has anyone else read this book? What did you think? How would you compare it to Late Nights on Air?