Sunday, June 23, 2013
Another Book Finish
"face" of the evening television news here in the Maritimes for a number of years. He is now retired from broadcasting and lives and writes in Parrsboro N.S. Diligent River, a very small community not far from Parrsboro is the setting of this novel. Set in the early 1900's, it's the story of a young girl who has lost her mother and is struggling to cope with her bereaved father and life's challenges as World War I approaches.
The book jacket summarizes it better than I could:
"In 1914 when Canada is swept into the Great War, Charlene Durant is already a veteran of loneliness and much private heartbreak, yet her indomitable spirit and belief in her own intelligence keep her from sinking into despair.
There is nothing normal about her life. A mother's death is not unusual in the time of widespread epidemics and neither is the quarantine imposed on the shattered remnants of her family. But becoming her father's assistant as a young girl and travelling the dusty roads of Nova Scotia as he sells tombstones to the recently bereaved is an unorthodox education. After almost going mad with grief at his wife's death, her father has become an aging Lothario, unpredictable and miserable when the army repeatedly refuses to enlist him. But finally, by 1916 with thousands dead on the battlefields, he becomes a soldier and goes to Europe to fight.
Hurt and angry over her father's decision to desert her, Charlene takes her unstable Aunt Matilda and leaves for Boston where she lies about her age to get a join a newspaper. She falls in love with a youthful crime reporter and befriends an old Irish sea dog who takes her into the midst of a kidnapping and murder.
Charlene brushes against the great events of her time, the Titanic sinking, the Halifax Explosion, the suffragette movement and the struggle of a young woman to be accepted into the man's world of newspaper work. Overshadowing all is the war that changes the world and everyone in it. Diligent River Daughter is the story of how a brave and strong-willed young woman from the Parrsboro Shore fights for her independence and identity in a most troubled time."
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, in part because it was a bit different from what I've been reading lately. Graham creates characters that are "real" and it is easy to empathize with Charlene's struggles and emotions. I was drawn in right from the first paragraph: "The whispers and rumours about the plague started again right after my mother's death. Five days after the funeral they quarantined our house and I couldn't go back to school." Wouldn't that make you want to keep reading?
We are getting more rain... and more rain.. I have perennials that don't normally bloom until August, already budded. I managed to finally get everything into the ground this weekend- things I had started from seed, and the last of the bedding plants. It feels good to have all the pots out of the way, but I'm wondering how well they will do.. we really need some sunshine!!! My vegetable garden is struggling - some things are doing well (lettuce, spinach, carrots, peas and beets) but my cukes and tomatoes are not growing AT ALL, and the beans are a total write-off... Sigh.. Between chewing insects, raccoons, a greedy little groundhog and all the rain and lack of sun... who said growing veggies is easy?
I hope things are well in your world, and you have a good book on the go to get you through these rainy days... And if it is sunny where you are, please send it this way!!
“But, how do you know if an ending is truly good for the characters unless you've traveled with them through every page?” ~ Shannon Hale