Exquisitely written tale of small-town life, set in remote Northern Ontario in 1972 where seven-year-old Clara is badly missing her runaway 16-year-old sister, Rose. To make things worse, her elderly neighbour and friend Mrs Orchard has gone into hospital, and a recently divorced man named Liam has moved into Mrs Orchard's house. The mysterious link between Mrs Orchard and Liam is revealed over the course of the novel, which is funny and genuinely heartbreaking by turns. If you are, as I am, a huge fan of Anne Tyler, then you definitely can't miss this.
With spare, unembroidered strokes she summons up characters you want to spend time with and a warmly enveloping sense of the little patch of Ontario in which she has set all her fiction to date, a place so far north that the dodgy radio signal means bulletins about the Munich Olympics attack and Watergate become so much static. Bad things happen here, certainly, but when they do the comforts of community wrap those sharp-edged revelations in a consoling blanket.
I'm a big fan of the author (her debut Crow Lake Feature in 'From my Bookshelf') so I was excited to read this. There's a beauty and simplicity in her stories set in small-town Canada. This novel weaves together three characters' tales: newcomer Liam, his eight-year-old neightbour Clara, and elderly Elizabeth.