Watermark by Jennifer Farquhar

[dropcap]When[/dropcap] I was a young lad, my parents owned a cottage that fronted on a small lake in South Eastern Ontario. While I swam in the water by day, I never ventured near the shore at night. That was when all kinds of things came forth out of the depths to languish on the shore …

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Through Sunlight and Shadows by Raymond Fraser

Sadly, Through Sunlight and Shadows would prove to be Raymond Fraser’s swan song, as he passed away just a few short months after its publication. It is his fourteenth book of fiction and is an all-new volume of “memoirs” of his fictional/semi-autobiographical character, Walt Macbride. While regular readers of Mr. Fraser’s will be familiar with …

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The Land’s Long Reach by Valerie Mills-Milde

This is the book that I was awaiting from Valerie Mills-Milde. I had to patiently wait two years from the time that her exceptional debut novel After Drowning (2016, Inanna Publications) was released. That book won a 2017 IPPY Silver Medal for Contemporary Fiction. Of After Drowning, I stated: “After Drowning is an intriguing, well-paced and mysteriously …

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The Light a Body Radiates by Ethel Whitty

At fifty-eight pages into The Light a Body Radiates by Ethel Whitty (2018, Caitlin Press), Eileen Macpherson’s grandmother tells her: “If you’re a storyteller, it’s your job to make it a story that wants to be told. Where we come from, the one who always keeps the stories is the granddaughter.” Then she murmured, “You …

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New 2018 Fiction from Goose Lane Editions

[dropcap]Here [/dropcap]are a couple of mini-reviews of two recent fiction titles New Brunswick’s Goose Lane Editions, Marry Bang Kill by Andrew Battershill and Catch my Drift by Genevieve Scott. Marry Bang Kill by Andrew Battershill The title of this book comes from a popular question: when presented with three things (typically celebrities) who would you: …

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Songs for the Cold of Heart by Eric Dupont (translated by Peter McCambridge)

Note to readers: In lieu of the regular review that I would normally post, I am instead publishing a letter* I received from a reader regarding Songs for the Cold of Heart (2018, QC Fiction). I found it fairly sums up my thoughts on the book, and I reprint it here with the sender’s permission. …

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Come From Away by Genevieve Graham

[dropcap]Look [/dropcap]closely at the cover image of Come From Away (2018 Simon and Schuster). The young woman is Grace Baker, daughter of Danny and Audrey Baker, the main protagonists of Ms. Graham’s hugely successful 2015 novel Tides of Honour. Who is the young blond-haired man? See the submarine in the lower right corner? That’s supposed …

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Being Mary Ro by Ida Linehan Young

[dropcap]One[/dropcap] might be forgiven if, after seeing the book’s cover, they think Being Mary Ro (2018, Flanker Press) is another stereotypical Victorian-era romance novel. In some ways it is, but Being Mary Ro is more historical fiction than it is romance, similar to Genevieve Graham’s Promises to Keep. Like that book, it is based on …

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Waking Up In My Own Backyard by Sandra Phinney

Warning! Reading this book will leave you exhausted! I was only a few chapters in when I had to put down the book and wonder aloud: “How does a seventy-year-old manage to do all this in a day?” Let me back up and explain what Sandra Phinney’s Waking Up In My Own Backyard (2017, Pottersfield …

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This Time Might Be Different: Stories of Maine by Elaine Ford

[dropcap]In [/dropcap]the healthcare world in which I work, a “sentinel event” is defined as: “any unanticipated event in a healthcare setting resulting in death or serious physical or psychological injury to a patient or patients, not related to the natural course of the patient’s illness.”  In the day to day mundane world in which we …

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The Honey Farm by Harriet Alida Lye

[dropcap]Harriet[/dropcap] Alida Lye is a writer from Richmond Hill, Ontario. Now living in Toronto, she works at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. The Honey Farm is her first novel. (Note: this review is based on an Advance Reading Copy supplied by the publisher. If you like novels that have: Old Testament references and symbolism a …

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Malagash by Joey Comeau

(The following is an excerpt from a review written by Naomi MacKinnon at Consumed by Ink. It is reproduced here in part with her kind permission.) Malagash is a gem of a book. And I can’t think of anyone I wouldn’t recommend it to. The title of the book refers to the community where the …

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Most Anything You Please by Trudy J. Morgan-Cole

Most Anything You Please (2017, Breakwater Books) is the first book I have read by Ms. Morgan-Cole and it is a solid saga of the Holloway family through several decades. The author was born in, and still lives in the Rabbittown neighbourhood of St. John’s: “Over the years, I’ve discussed with many friends the fact …

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