by Emma Donoghue
A disturbing and fascinating novel. It is the story of a woman and her son who live their lives locked in an eleven by eleven foot room. The story is told in the voice of her five-year-old son Jack who is finally learning that there is a world outside of this place. Though it is a sad story, it is told beautiful with wit and love.
The Age of Hope
by David Bergen
Being born of Mennonite parents who live near Winnipeg, I really enjoyed this story of Hope Koop who lives in a very similar environment. Her world is very traditional until she is introduced to feminist literature and suddenly her world expands. She begins to question her life and wonders about her place in it. Beautifully written.
The Rosie Project
by Graeme Simsion
A funny story that focuses on Don, a socially inept but brilliant professor who begins his search for a wife. Rosie, 'a quite intelligent barmaid', finds herself in his life and though she is absolutely unqualified and ill-suited, not fitting his scientific list of a perfect match, he is surprised to find himself to be attracted to her. A cute read.
by Frances Itani
This novel is set in eastern Canada just after the second world war and revolves around two sisters and secrets they share. The story shares the challenges of a difficult history and how secrets can be the unraveling of a family. Frances Itani is a lovely writer.
The Back of the Turtle
by Thomas King
I have long been a fan of Thomas King's writing and this novel was not a disappointment. Gabriel returns to the reserve where his mother grew up and which is now deserted due to an environmental disaster with the intention of ending his life. Thomas King is a witty writer and a incomparable story-teller.
The Signature of All Things
by Elizabeth Gilbert
I was never really a fan of Eat, Pray, Love (though I did love the movie) but I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. It is set in the 19th Century and follows the life of botanist Alma Whittaker who studies mosses. The story takes you from London, Peru and Philadelphia to Tahiti and Amsterdam, and is a love story between a scientist and a spiritualist.
All My Puny Sorrows
by Miriam Toews
My husband grew up with the Toews family so I always find it interesting reading Miriam's stories since so many things reflect their lives in some way. This is another Mennonite story but this one relates the life of two sisters, one seemingly glamorous and the others a challenge and yet the opposite is true. The story is really told as dark comedy and though it is tragic it is told with great humour.
by Elizabeth Gilbert
Because I enjoyed The Signature of All Things so well, I decided to read Elizabeth Gilbert's first novel which was published in 2000. It is set on a small island struggling with a dying lobster fishery. Ruth Thomas returns to home after many years away at boarding school and learns to make her way in a changing world.
by Kim Thuy
Ru is written as a journal and shares the family's flight from Vietnam to Quebec. It is a fictional story based on the author's own experiences of immigration in challenging circumstances. When I read this story I was reminded of my college roommate's own experiences and was reminded to be grateful for being born in this country.
The Best Laid Plans
by Terry Fallis
This is a story about a burnt-out Canadian political aide who is forced to run a hopeless campaign. To avoid teaching English to Engineers, a grouchy old Scot, Angus McClintock is talked into letting his name stand and through no fault of his own wins the election. It's a hilarious story of Canadian politics.
The Night Stages
by Jane Urquhart
I love stories written by Jane Urquhart and this was no exception. The story begins with a female pilot in Ireland just after the second World War. The storyline was lovely and I always enjoy learning something even in fiction as I wasn't aware that women piloted airplanes during the war, though they just moved them between bases and manufacturing companies.
by J.K. Rowling
Because I enjoyed the Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) mysteries so much I finally decided to give Casual Vacancy a try and I enjoyed it. It took me about 1/3 of the way through the story before I decided that it was a joy to read as there were a number of characters whom I had to get to know before I could connect with the storyline. It revolves around a death and an empty council seat which a number of people are desperate to get hold of...a casual vacancy. Sometimes sad, sometimes funny, and always well-written.