Book picks similar to
Madame Zee by Pearl Luke
The Girl Who Was Saturday Night
Heather O'Neill - 2014
Now, in The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, she returns to the grubby, enchanted city with a light and profound tale of the vice of fame and the ties of family.Nineteen years old, free of prospects, and inescapably famous, the twins Nicholas and Nouschka Tremblay are trying to outrun the notoriety of their father, a French-Canadian Serge Gainsbourg with a genius for the absurd and for winding up in prison. “Back in the day, he could come home from a show with a paper bag filled with women’s underwear. Outside of Québec nobody had even heard of him, naturally. Québec needed stars badly.”Since the twins were little, Étienne has made them part of his unashamed seduction of the province, parading them on talk shows and then dumping them with their decrepit grandfather while he disappeared into some festive squalor. Now Étienne is washed up and the twins are making their own almost-grown-up messes, with every misstep landing on the front pages of the tabloid Allo Police. Nouschka not only needs to leave her childhood behind; she also has to leave her brother, whose increasingly erratic decisions might take her down with him.
By the Rivers of Brooklyn
Trudy J. Morgan-Cole - 2009
John's. By the Rivers of Brooklyn traces the story of the Evans family across two countries and three generations, exploring the hopes, passions and heartbreaks of those who went away and those who stayed behind. By the Rivers of Brooklyn transforms into fiction the experience of the 75,000 first- and second-generation Newfoundlanders who once lived in Brooklyn, New York - and the experience of Newfoundlanders throughout history who have gone away to find work and prosperity but never stopped dreaming of home.
Joseph Boyden - 2016
Along the way he's followed by Manitous, spirits of the forest who comment on his plight, cajoling, taunting, and ultimately offering him a type of comfort on his difficult journey back to the place he was so brutally removed from.Written by Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning author Joseph Boyden and beautifully illustrated by acclaimed artist Kent Monkman, Wenjack is a powerful and poignant look into the world of a residential school runaway trying to find his way home.
The Golden Mean
Annabel Lyon - 2009
An early illness has left one son with the intellect of a child; the other is destined for greatness but struggles between a keen mind that craves instruction and the pressures of a society that demands his prowess as a soldier. Initially Aristotle hopes for a short stay in what he considers the brutal backwater of his childhood. But, as a man of relentless curiosity and reason, Aristotle warms to the challenge of instructing his young charges, particularly Alexander, in whom he recognizes a kindred spirit, an engaged, questioning mind coupled with a unique sense of position and destiny. Aristotle struggles to match his ideas against the warrior culture that is Alexander’s birthright. He feels that teaching this startling, charming, sometimes horrifying boy is a desperate necessity. And that what the boy – thrown before his time onto his father’s battlefields – needs most is to learn the golden mean, that elusive balance between extremes that Aristotle hopes will mitigate the boy’s will to conquer. Aristotle struggles to inspire balance in Alexander, and he finds he must also play a cat-and-mouse game of power and influence with Philip in order to manage his own ambitions. As Alexander’s position as Philip’s heir strengthens and his victories on the battlefield mount, Aristotle’s attempts to instruct him are honoured, but increasingly unheeded. And despite several troubling incidents on the field of battle, Alexander remains steadfast in his desire to further the reach of his empire to all known and unknown corners of the world, rendering the intellectual pursuits Aristotle offers increasingly irrelevant. Exploring this fabled time and place, Annabel Lyon tells her story in the earthy, frank, and perceptive voice of Aristotle himself. With sensual and muscular prose, she explores how Aristotle’s genius touched the boy who would conquer the known world. And she reveals how we still live with the ghosts of both men.
Mark Sinnett - 2009
In the aftermath of Hurricane Hazel, a young cop, Ray Townes, emerges as a hero. There are numerous accounts of his bravery, of the way he battled all night to save those who were trapped in houses swept away by the raging Humber River. His story is featured prominently in the newspapers, thrusting him into the spotlight as a local celebrity. His wife performs her own small miracles that night. Mary is a nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital and she treats many of the survivors. The emergency room is overrun; the hallways are slick with river mud: of course, her feats go almost unnoticed. But among the victims she treats there is a woman, disoriented and near death, who reveals mad-seeming details of her ordeal — details that lead Mary to doubt her husband’s heroism. The officer and the nurse (with a new house, new friends, and plans for a family) try to normalize their life together in a shell-shocked city, but Mary also searches for the truth about her husband. Is he simply the tired hero who stares out at her from the cover of the Globe and Mail, or is it a much darker figure who sits across the table from her at breakfast? Definitive answers are elusive . . . Fifty years later, when a reporter comes knocking, wanting to revisit that violent night, the missing details finally surface — and threaten to destroy them.
The Convict Lover
Merilyn Simonds - 1996
In 1987, writer Merilyn Simonds found a cache of letters, albums, clippings and other memorabilia in the attic of her Kingston, Ontario, home, the bits and pieces of an unknown woman's life. Among the overflowing boxes and stuffed sugar sacks was a tin box that held one complete, brief collection of letters from the months immediately after the First World War in 1919, a one-way correspondence written in pencil on flimsy paper, undated and without postmarks. From this careless jumble of pages, remarkable individuals and events emerged: a convict, a penitentiary, a village girl, a life in small town Canada at the end of the Great War. Merilyn Simonds was drawn irresistibly to the lives of Joe "Daddy Long Legs," a thief and con artist incarcerated inside the stone fortress that was the country's most notorious prison, and of Phyllis Halliday, a seventeen-year-old schoolgirl whose family home bordered the prison quarry and who fell under the spell of a man she could never meet or touch, except through their clandestine correspondence. Around them swirled a cast of equally compelling characters, chief among them William St. Pierre Hughes, superintendent of the nations' prisons, whose fate, like those of Joe and Phyllis, was bound to the conspiracies and intrigues inside Kingston Penitentiary. All three are caught in prisons of their own devising; only one truly escapes. In the year after its publication, families of all the major characters in the book contacted author Merilyn Sinonds to share their stories and find out more about these little known relations. As a result, she learned that Joseph Cleroux had been part of the Cleroux gang that burgled Ottawa Valley businesses in the first decades of the 1900s. The story of Josie Cleroux's early years and what is now known about where he ended up is told in the epilogue of the paperback edition of "The Convict Lover" "From the Hardcover edition."
The Lightkeeper's Daughters
Jean E. Pendziwol - 2017
No longer able to linger over her beloved books or gaze at the paintings that move her spirit, she fills the void with music and memories of her family—a past that suddenly becomes all too present when her late father's journals are found amid the ruins of an old shipwreck.With the help of Morgan, a delinquent teenager performing community service, Elizabeth goes through the diaries, a journey through time that brings the two women closer together. Entry by entry, these unlikely friends are drawn deep into a world far removed from their own—to Porphyry Island on Lake Superior, where Elizabeth’s father manned the lighthouse seventy years before.As the words on these musty pages come alive, Elizabeth and Morgan begin to realize that their fates are connected to the isolated island in ways they never dreamed. While the discovery of Morgan's connection sheds light onto her own family mysteries, the faded pages of the journals hold more questions than answers for Elizabeth, and threaten the very core of who she is.
The Virgin Cure
Ami McKay - 2011
As a young child, Moth's father smiled, tipped his hat and walked away from her forever. The summer she turned twelve, her mother sold her as a servant to a wealthy woman, with no intention of ever seeing her again. These betrayals lead Moth to the wild, murky world of the Bowery, filled with house-thieves, pickpockets, beggars, sideshow freaks and prostitutes, where eventually she meets Miss Everett, the owner of a brothel simply known as "The Infant School." Miss Everett caters to gentlemen who pay dearly for companions who are "willing and clean," and the most desirable of them all are young virgins like Moth. Through the friendship of Dr. Sadie, a female physician, Moth learns to question and observe the world around her, where her new friends are falling prey to the myth of the "virgin cure" - that deflowering a "fresh maid" can heal the incurable and tainted. She knows the law will not protect her, that polite society ignores her, and still she dreams of answering to no one but herself. There's a high price for such independence, though, and no one knows that better than a girl from Chrystie Street.
Rush Home Road
Lori Lansens - 2002
Although Sharla is not the angelic child Addy Shadd had pictured when she agreed to look after her, the two soon forge a deep bond. To Addy's surprise, Sharla's presence brings back memories of her own childhood in Rusholme, a town settled by fugitive slaves in the mid-1800s. She reminisces about her family, her first love, and the painful experience that drove her away from home. Brilliantly structured -- and achingly lyrical, this is a story about the redeeming power of love and memory, and about two unlikely people who transform each other's lives forever.
Michael Crummey - 2009
When a whale beaches itself on the shore of the remote coastal town of Paradise Deep, the last thing any of the townspeople expect to find inside it is a man, silent and reeking of fish, but remarkably alive. The discovery of this mysterious person, soon christened Judah, sets the town scrambling for answers as its most prominent citizens weigh in on whether he is man or beast, blessing or curse, miracle or demon. Though Judah is a shocking addition, the town of Paradise Deep is already full of unusual characters. King-me Sellers, self-appointed patriarch, has it in for an inscrutable woman known only as Devine’s Widow, with whom he has a decades-old feud. Her granddaughter, Mary Tryphena, is just a child when Judah washes ashore, but finds herself tied to him all her life in ways she never expects. Galore is the story of the saga that develops between these families, full of bitterness and love, spanning two centuries. With Paradise Deep, award-winning novelist Michael Crummey imagines a realm where the line between the everyday and the otherworldly is impossible to discern. Sprawling and intimate, stark and fantastical, Galore is a novel about the power of stories to shape and sustain us.
The Imposter Bride
Nancy Richler - 2012
Her attempt to live out her life as Lily Azerov shatters as she disappears, leaving a new husband and baby daughter, and a host of unanswered questions. Who is she really and what happened to the young woman whose identity she has stolen? Why has she left and where did she go? It is left to the daughter she abandoned to find the answers to these questions as she searches for the mother she may never find or really know.
The Day the Falls Stood Still
Cathy Marie Buchanan - 2009
And like the tumultuous meeting of the cataract's waters with the rocks below, a chance encounter between Tom and 17-year-old Bess Heath has an explosive effect. When they first meet on a trolley platform, Bess immediately recognizes the chemistry between them, and the feeling is mutual. But the hopes of young love are constrained by the 1915 conventions of Niagara Falls, Ontario. Tom's working-class pedigree doesn't suit Bess's family, despite their recent fall from grace. Sacked from his position at a hydroelectric power company, Bess's father has taken to drink, forcing her mother to take in sewing for the society women who were once her peers. Bess pitches in as she pines for Tom, but at her young age, she's unable to fully realize how drastically her world is about to change. Set against the resounding backdrop of the falls, Cathy Marie Buchanan's carefully researched, capaciously imagined debut novel entwines the romantic trials of a young couple with the historical drama of the exploitation of the river's natural resources. The current of the river, like that of the human heart, is under threat: "Sometimes it seems like the river is being made into this measly thing," says Tom, bemoaning the shortsighted schemes of the power companies. "The river's been bound up with cables and concrete and steel, like a turkey at Christmastime." Skillfully portraying individuals, families, a community, and an environment imperiled by progress and the devastations of the Great War, The Day the Falls Stood Still beautifully evokes the wild wonder of its setting, a wonder that always overcomes any attempt to tame it. But at the same time, Buchanan's tale never loses hold of the gripping emotions of Tom and Bess's intimate drama. The result is a transporting novel that captures both the majesty of nature and the mystery of love.Also, download the free study guide: http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t....
Above All Things
Tanis Rideout - 2012
A captivating blend of historical fact and imaginative fiction, Above All Things moves seamlessly back and forth between the epic story of Mallory's legendary final expedition and a heartbreaking account of a day in the life of Ruth Mallory. Through George's perspective, and that of the newest member of the climbing team, Sandy Irvine, we get an astonishing picture of the terrible risks taken by the men on the treacherous terrain of the Himalaya. But it is through Ruth's eyes that a complex portrait of a marriage emerges, one forged on the eve of the First World War, shadowed by its losses, and haunted by the ever-present possibility that George might not come home. Drawing on years of research, this powerful and beautifully written novel is a timeless story of desire, redemption, and the lengths we are willing to go for honour, glory, and love.
Lesley Crewe - 2010
She mothers everyoneher social work clients, her husband, her twenty-something daughters, and her reclusive sister who lives in the attic. Elsie is committed to taking care of everyone--everyone but herself. So, when crazy Aunt Hildy writes to demand a bedroom in their Halifax home, Elsie cant help but say yes. When Hilda arrives, she enchants and enrages the family with her moxie. That and her proclamation that she has hidden treasure in the house and the kings ransom will go to whoever loved her most. When someone threatens Aunt Hildy, she responds with her trademark sass: Go ahead. Shoot me. I dare you. Whoever it is takes her up on it. Suddenly, the house is turned topsy-turvy as Elsies family searches for a treasure that Elsie doesnt believe even exists, and for a killer that could be any one of them. Shoot Me is a funny and sometimes heart-wrenching story about family, fortune, and figuring out who you are and who you love. In Elsie, Crewe has created a character who speaks with humour and honesty to conflicts that exist in the lives of so many women: between work and home, between loving one man and wanting others, and between feeling fulfilled not only as a wife and a mother, but as a woman.
Will Ferguson - 2012
Accident or suicide?On the other side of the world, a young woman walks out of a sandstorm in sub-Saharan Africa. In the labyrinth of the Niger Delta, a young boy learns to survive by navigating through the gas flares and oil spills of a ruined landscape. In the seething heat of Lagos City, a criminal cartel scours the internet looking for victims.Lives intersect, worlds collide, a family falls apart. And it all begins with a single email: “Dear Sir, I am the son of an exiled Nigerian diplomat, and I need your help ...”419 takes readers behind the scene of the world’s most insidious internet scam. When Laura’s father gets caught up in one such swindle and pays with his life, she is forced to leave the comfort of North America to make a journey deep into the dangerous back streets and alleyways of the Lagos underworld to confront her father’s killer. What she finds there will change her life forever...