Look After Her by Hannah Brown

Hannah Brown has delivered a brilliant story in her debut novel Look After Her. It is a story about two sisters who are kidnapped by a family friend and sold to a brothel after the death of their parents. Set in Vienna and later in Italy and England, Brown transports readers to a time period before the beginning of the Second World War.…

Swimmers in Winter by Faye Guenther

Faye Guenther’s first collection of short fiction, Swimmers in Winter*, is described as a “trifecta of diptychs.” Any of the six pieces can stand well on their own, or can work in their pairs to flesh out the characters, the timeframe, and the realities of life for queer women in their communities. Offering an exploration of desire that spans the past, present, and future, the collection’s structure and organization is as interesting to contemplate as the stories themselves.…

The Story of Lillian Burke, by Edward M. Langille

Lillian Burke is not a household name. If Edward M. Langille, author of The Lillian Burke Story, had his way, that would change. Artist, reconstruction therapist, musician, teacher—American-born Burke was all of these. Though Burke lived the bulk of her life in the United States, she also had a Canadian connection. This came through Elsie Grosvenor, Alexander Graham Bell’s eldest daughter.

Seeds and Other Stories by Ursula Pflug

In my years of reading and reviewing, I consider Ursula Pflug one of my “finds”, that is, an author that I enjoy reading and want to read everything he/she produces. I was first introduced to Ms. Pflug by her 2017 novella Mountain. Down From (2018), is derived from the seeds of two short stories (“The Dreams of Trees” and “Daughter Catcher”) in this collection of her previously published works from the past decade or so.…

No Girls Allowed by Natalie Corbett Sampson

No Girls Allowed, by Natalie Corbett Sampson, follows ten-year-old Tina Marie Forbes and her family as they fight for her right to play hockey. The Forbes family moves from Toronto to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and are excited to get settled in the town. Early on, Tina reflects, “all you need to do to make friends is play sports. Join a team and there’s a bunch of them ready to meet .…

Lightness by Fanie Demeule, trans. by Anita Anand

to one source, 90% of all anorexics are females. They lose a few pounds but are still not satisfied. They become obsessed with reaching the “ideal” weight, but it’s a moving target, practically unattainable. Such is the case with the unnamed young woman in Lightness (Déterrer les os in French) by Quebec author Fanie Demeule, which has been translated into English by Anita Anand.*…

Secret Lives of Mothers & Daughters by Anita Kushwahal

Kushwaha’s follow-up to her 2018 award-winning first novel (and 2020 longlist nominee) Side by Side is Secret Lives of Mothers & Daughters (HarperCollins Canada). It is a generational story of — you guessed it — mothers and daughters and the secrets that they keep from each other, whether it is keeping an adoption secret from an adult child, holding a pregnancy secret, an office affair or any other sort of confidence kept out of love or perceived duty, they are all here in Ms.…

On the Edge by Lesley Strutt

Ontario author Lesley Strutt’s novel On the Edge is part of Inanna Publication’s Young Feminist Series, and is an adventurous read for all ages, especially for those who like sailing stories. Fourteen-year-old Emma (short for Emerald) is living an overly-restrictive life on her Aunt and Uncle’s farm near Kingston, Ontario. For mysterious reasons. her mother handed over care of her to them when Emma was only a little girl.…

The Allspice Bath by Sonia Saikaley

Award-winning author Sonia Saikely’s newest novel, The Allspice Bath is an enjoyable, yet emotional story (almost like a modern folk tale, now that I think about it) about a Lebanese family living in Ottawa in the 70s-90s. Youssef and Samira Azar have recently immigrated to Canada from Lebanon with their three daughters. Youssef runs a corner grocery store. He speaks little English, so he relies on his daughters to help him with the business.…

A Philosopher, a Psychologist, and an Extraterrestrial Walk into a Chocolate Bar by Jass Richards

Jass Richards (AKA Peg Tittle, see Just…Think About It) is back with another exceptional book that entertains and informs as she mixes feminism, critical thinking and current social issues with humour to produce a story about two 40-year-old women, Jane and Spike who set out on a road trip from Toronto to Paris (!) in search of chocolate. (Chocoholics will love this story).

Land for Fatimah by Veena Gokhale

In Land for Fatimah, we follow Anjali, an Indian woman who as a young girl witnessed the levelling of a slum outside of Bombay, displacing the members of that poor colony. She’s carried that horrible event in her head since, and we now find her working for an international non-profit organization called HELP (Health, Education and Livelihood Skills Partnership) and has taken on a year-long assignment in Kamorga, a fictional East African country.…

Under the Bridge by Anne Bishop

Near the end of Under the Bridge (2019, Roseway Publishing)*, Lucy, the narrator and central figure of the story, stops walking near the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge and reflects:

“I can see the bridge from the corner of Devonshire and Barrington, lights arching off into the dusk, reflected in the inky black water below. The Dartmouth end is hidden by the bulk of the shipyard.…

The Daughters’ Story by Murielle Cyr

I would like to start this review* by quoting the Author’s Note at the end of the text: “Although the references to historical names and events are real, this story remains, first and foremost, a work of fiction. October of 1970 was a tumultuous time for the people of Quebec. Emotions ran high, ideals soared and plummeted, yet they emerged from this with a clearer, more confident vision of themselves as a society.…

Black Beach by Glynis Guevara

Trinidadian Glynis Guevara has now written her second Young Adult (YA) novel, Black Beach, following 2017’s Under the Zaboca Tree. Both titles are published by Inanna Publications. Black Beach is set (like its predecessor) in Trinidad. Tamera is sixteen-years-old and lives with her father and mother in the rural fishing village of La Cresta. Her older sister Mary lives next door with her husband Renwick and their young child Emma.…