Cover Image: New Girl in Little Cove

New Girl in Little Cove

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Member Reviews

hat a refreshing and lovely story! I absolutely enjoyed the slower pace that Little Cove offered and really enjoyed seeing how Rachel navigated this world completely outside her comfort zone.

And although Rachel struggled to find her footing in this new town, new culture, she had some really great people in her corner to help her out. Between the teachers (especially the other new one), the Hookers (also known as the Holy Dusters), and Lucille, her grumpy landlady, Rachel does find her way and manages to carve her spot out in their world.

I absolutely adored the characters in this story. And, boy - some of them were definitely characters! But, regardless of their quirks, sometimes unintelligible language, and seemingly cold hearts, they wound their way into my heart and kept me reading to find out what was going to happen.

While the language was sometimes hard to understand and the characters sometimes came across as mean or uncaring, this was a beautiful story that captured my imagination. I had thoughts of Anne of Green Gables and her arrival in her new town...
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Another sweet read, where Rachel's job in Little Cove had her trying to acclimatize to the new ways of the land. i liked how she found her path surely and carefully, with romance and humor. I liked that the author made tolerance and friendship as the core of the book. overall I enjoyed reading this book.
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A charming fish-out-of-water story in the tradition of Anne of Green Gables or All Creatures Great and Small. In 1980s Canada, well-meaning but naive French teacher Rachel accepts a job in the tiny Newfoundland hamlet of Little Cove. She meets a cast of eccentric but ultimately good-hearted townspeople. Her high school students are wild, but she's determined to get through to them. Cut off from big-city nightlife and amenities, Rachel learns to depend on her new community.

This reads like a memoir, in a good way. Even though Monaghan says in her author note that most of the events are fictional, it's obvious that she was inspired by her love for Newfoundland and her own experiences teaching there. The first-person narrative brings the reader right into the story. This would be excellent for readers who enjoy cozy, small-town novels. There's a romance, but this is very much a coming-of-age story for a new teacher.

Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for the ARC to review. All opinions are my own.
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Thoroughly enjoyable.  The setting felt like a character in itself, and this book has all the elements I love in a charming romance/chick lit.  I loved reading about the culture and traditions of Newfoundland, and who knew a little book like this would make me want to visit there?  Adorable and warm-hearted, this book is a big ol' hug.
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Review will be posted on 7/20/21 
Little Cove, Newfoundland is an idyllic village where everyone knows everyone's business.  The former French teacher ran off with the priest (cue the gasping!), so there's been a bit of a scandal.  Enter Rachel O'Brien, who arrives from the mainland and takes over the new teaching position.  She is trying to escape some issues at home, so where better to start over than at Little Cove? She thought it was going to be an easy transition....not so much! She has a hard time understanding everyone's accent and doesn't exactly feel welcome as she is a mainlander.  Thanks to her coworker, Doug, and a group of women she met, she is starting to find her way.  The more time she spends with Doug, the more she starts to have some feelings for him.  However, things start to get really complicated when a student comes to her for help and she ends up putting her job on the line.  Much to her dismay, her time at Little Cove might be over shortly after its begun. Damhnait Monaghan's debut, New Girl in Little Cove, is a charming light read that was exactly what I was looking for.  

Rachel is leaving home for a good reason and slowly we learn why in New Girl in Little Cove.  She really wants to a fresh start and Little Cove seems like a good place.  It's so much harder than she thought. There's wonky accents, there's reluctant students who don't appreciate French, and not to mention people who don't want her there. Rachel has even received upsetting anonymous notes on her car! Plus, the school she works at is Catholic and Rachel is barely one, so she has to watch as she doesn't want to lose her job.  Finally once she starts to get acclimated to Little Cove and finds herself with friends, something happens and it puts her job in jeopardy.

The secondary characters in New Girl in Little Cove are memorable as well. I really enjoyed the "Holy Dusters" and the community of Little Cove.  Doug is also a great character that I was rooting for him from the beginning and was hoping he and Rachel would end up together.  The other important character in the book is Little Cove itself. Images of Anne Shirley's Prince Edward's Island kept coming to mind when I was reading this book. What a memorable and charming setting! It also reminded me a bit of the setting for Derry Girls since there's such a strong emphasis on the Catholic church. I loved the coastal community, the fishing, the church, the music, and Little Cove's Celtic roots. Monaghan truly brought it all to life for me.

If you love a charming fish-out-of-water story, check out New Girl in Little Cove this summer. It's such a cute story and it was the heartwarming escape I needed. 

So, have you heard about New Girl in Little Cove? Is it on your TBR list? Let me know in the comments below.
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When Rachel O’Brien decides she needs a change in her life, she ends up taking a job in Little Cove--a small town that needs a new French teacher after the old teacher ran off with the priest. Rachel quickly realizes that the job is much more challenging than she expected, and she is not exactly welcomed into the town with open arms. 

I picked this book up hoping for a cozy read about a small town, but it didn't leave me with the warm fuzzies I was hoping for. I didn't connect with Rachel as a character, and I didn't love all the characters that we met as Rachel settles into Little Cove. I also didn't particularly like the love interest. The plot also seemed slow at times, and I felt myself checking out around halfway through. I did appreciate that the book tackled some deeper issues, like Rachel is challenged about some of the assumptions she makes about the local dialect. The story also tackles teenage pregnancy and the effect it has on some of the female students.

Overall it wasn't my cup of tea, but it might be worth a try for anyone who enjoys novels about small towns!

Thanks to Damhnait Monaghan, Graydon House, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book.
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Monaghan was born and raised in Canada but now makes her home in England.  This is her debut novel and it was listed as a most anticipated rom-com by Indigo.  The story is set in 1985 Newfoundland and features Rachel, who is a brand new French  teacher and has been hired by a Catholic school in a small town. While Rachel is technically a Catholic, she omitted to tell them she isn't a practising Catholic.  The story follows her adventures with the students, the language that is unique to the province, the towns folk and Doug, who is another teacher.  This is a charming story and really an ode to Newfoundland.
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New Girl in Little Cove is an absolute delight. I know that I say that about a lot of books but it's been awhile since I've been left with a wide smile on my face when I finished the story because I was just so damn happy for the characters. Damhnait Monaghan's debut novel kept me entertained and I enjoyed myself so much while I read it.

Here's the book's description:
After the local French teacher scandalizes the fishing village of Little Cove, Newfoundland, by running off with a priest, the school looks to the mainland to fill the job quickly. They want someone who can uphold their Catholic values and keep a motley group of largely unwilling students in line.
The position is filled by mainlander Rachel O’Brien—technically a Catholic (baptized!), technically a teacher (honors degree!)—who’s desperate to leave her current mess of a life behind. She isn’t surprised that her students don’t see the value of learning French. But she is surprised that she can barely understand their English… Is it a compliment or insult to be called a sleeveen? (Insult.) And the anonymous notes left on her car, telling her to go home, certainly don’t help to make her feel welcome.


Still, she is quickly drawn into the island’s traditional music and culture, and into the personal lives of her crusty but softhearted landlady, Lucille, her reluctant students and her fellow teacher Doug Bishop. But when her beliefs clash with church and community, she makes a decision that throws her career into jeopardy. In trying to help a student, has she gone too far?
I'll let you in on a secret...I almost didn't read this book. I had the chance when it was published in Canada in March but I was overwhelmed at the time (life is a lot right now, isn't it? and knew I wouldn't want to cram it into my reading schedule. Then I had the opportunity to take part in a blog tour for the US publication, which was May 11. I had since seen a few blurbs from respected authors and reviewers and I really was quite intrigued by a debut Canadian author with a book set so firmly in Newfoundland. So, I signed up and here we are! I'm so glad that I did. Not only because I was able to find yet another Canadian author that I enjoy but because I really needed this kind of story. 

I've never been to Newfoundland, or anywhere in Canada east of Ottawa, really. (Not much travel to the west either...traveling in Canada is expensive!) It's on my bucket list and I know enough to know that the way of life in a small town of 389 people, especially in 1985, would be much different than what I'm used to in Ontario. Little Cove doesn't exist but Monaghan based it on some of the small towns she knew when she lived in the province. I loved that the story was unapologetically Canadian and as unique as I expect Newfoundland to be. I could relate to Rachel on a number of occasions when one of the locals would say something to her and she'd have absolutely no idea what they meant. I would like to think that I wouldn't have had the idiotic idea that Rachel had which made me cringe so hard (I won't say what it was because I think the scenes are important ones). All that to say, I really felt like I was there in Little Cove with Rachel and I loved it.


I think the ending was a bit...rushed, perhaps? I loved that everything was tied up neatly (not something I need in every book but it was perfect for this read) and there were Happily Ever Afters all over the place. The scandal at the end and the revelation of who was leaving her notes (and dealing with a character who was annoyed that she didn't tell them about the notes...I didn't understand that one)? That was a bit clumsy but it still didn't take away my enjoyment of the overall story. There were also a few times where it felt like I was being told things to much rather than shown them but I chalked that up to debut novel writing and moved on. It won't keep me from reading whatever Monaghan writes next.

I wasn't sure I was going to love that the story took place in 1985. It was veering a bit much into autobiographical territory, as I knew Monaghan had lived in Newfoundland, but it all made so much more sense when I read the author's note. I learned that Monaghan had also been a new teacher around that time, so it's no wonder Rachel's emotions came through so well in her teaching scenes. She said that she chose the time period, in part, because she knew the time and what it was like to be a twentysomething in Newfoundland in the eighties. But it was also to allow for Rachel to really feel like a fish out of water with no easy way to stay in contact with friends and family. Not like today when we're relying so heavily on online conversations. That revelation made it click so much more for me and I agree that the story could not have been what it was had it not been set in 1985.


Damhnait Monaghan has written a novel that should be read by everyone, not just Canadians. New Girl in Little Cove is just what you need during these bonkers times - a story that is full of heart, characters you'll adore, and a setting that seems familiar and foreign all at once. I hope you read it and are left with the same smile I had when I finished the last page.

Buy New Girl in Little Cove: * Harlequin * Barnes & Noble * Amazon * Books-A-Million * Powell’s

Connect with the Author:
Website * Twitter * Instagram *Facebook * Goodreads

About the Author:
DAMHNAIT MONAGHAN was once a mainlander who taught in a small fishing village in Newfoundland. A former teacher and lawyer, Monaghan has almost sixty publication credits, including flash fiction, creative non-fiction, and short stories. Her short prose has won or placed in various writing competitions and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best Small Fictions, and Best Microfictions. New Girl in Little Cove placed in the top six from more than 350 entries in the 2019 International Caledonia Novel Award.

*An egalley of this novel was provided by the US publisher, Graydon House Books, via NetGalley in exchange for a review for the purposes of a blog tour. All opinions are honest and my own.*
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-Book Review
New Girl in Little Cove by Damhnait Monaghan

Small town/rural fiction 

-Opening lines
September 1985
Little Cove: Population 389

THE BATTERED SIGN CAME into view as my car crested a hill on the gravel road. Only 389 people? Damn. I pulled over and got out of the car, inhaling the moist air. Empty boats tilted against the wind in the bay below. A big church dominated the valley, beside which squatted a low, red building, its windows dark, like a row of rotten teeth. This was likely St. Jude’s, where tomorrow I would begin my teaching career.
“You lost?”
I whirled around. A gaunt man, about sixty, straddled a bike beside me. He wore denim overalls and his white hair was combed neatly back from his forehead.
“Car broke down?” he continued.
“No,” I said. “I’m just...” My voice trailed off. I could hardly confide my second thoughts to this stranger. “Admiring the view.”

-My description
Little Cove (population 389), Newfoundland needs a French teacher and Rachel O’Brien needs a job.  She also needs time to grieve and find a way forward.  Little Cove is small with unique customs and culture.  Rachel struggles to reach the students she teaches.  But she also makes friends, spending time with her landlady and the rest of the hookers and Holy Dusters (they clean the church and make hooked rugs), taking up the fiddle and learning traditional music, and more.  Along the way she realizes fellow new teacher Doug might be more than a friend, and Newfoundland might just be the place where she finds herself.

-How it made you feel
Like being wrapped in a thick warm sweater.

-Favorite part
So much to love here, but the relationships between Rachel and the older residents of the village are especially delightful.

-One-word description

-Would you recommend?
This book is lovely, and I encourage anyone who needs a little warm, cozy charm in their lives to spend time with Rachel and the residents of Little Cove.  This is another fiction book that reads like a cozy mystery without the murder.  It reminded me of Murder in G Major by Alexia Brown.

Thank you Netgalley and Harlequin for an egalley of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This book is about Rachel who left her home and life behind in a hurry.  She needed a change due to multiple things that I won't spoil here, but she finds herself in Little Cove, in Newfoundland.  It's a very small town where everyone knows everyone and everyone's business.  

Rachel is there to take over as a French teacher in a Catholic school when the previous teacher left amidst scandal.  Not everyone is welcoming in Little Cove, but most are and Rachel starts building a life in the small village. 

The story started out beyond charming.  The author did an amazing job creating the characters.  The residents of Little Cove seemed real to me.  Side note: I really loved Lucille.  All of the older people in Little Cove are people that I would like to spend time with, too! 

This was truly a fast read and shares a lot of lessons in compassion, friendship, forgiveness and moving on.  All good things in a story and lesson.  I think some may feel uncomfortable with some of the things Rachel was running from but no judgement. I just wanted to know if, in the author's mind, does she feel that Rachel would have told Doug everything about her past?  

Otherwise, this was a great read. I really appreciate the opportunity from the publisher. All opinions are my own and no review was required. On sale May 11!  Read on for an excerpt!  Enjoy! 



September 1985

Little Cove: Population 389

The battered sign came into view as my car crested a hill on the gravel road. Only 389 people? Damn. I pulled over and got out of the car, inhaling the moist air. Empty boats tilted against the wind in the bay below. A big church dominated the valley, beside which squatted a low, red building, its windows dark, like a row of rotten teeth. This was likely St. Jude’s, where tomorrow I would begin my teaching career.

“You lost?”

I whirled around. A gaunt man, about sixty, straddled a bike beside me. He wore denim overalls and his white hair was combed neatly back from his forehead.

“Car broke down?” he continued.

“No,” I said. “I’m just … ” My voice trailed off. I could hardly confide my second thoughts to this stranger. “…admiring the view.”

He looked past me at the flinty mist now spilling across the bay. A soft rain began to fall, causing my carefully straightened hair to twist and curl like a mass of dark slugs.

“Might want to save that for a fine day,” he said. His accent was strong, but lilting. “It’s right mauzy today.”


“Mauzy.” He gestured at the air around him. Then he folded his arms across his chest and gave me a once-over. “Now then,” he said. “What’s a young one like you doing out this way?”

“I’m not that young,” I shot back. “I’m the new French teacher out here.”

A smile softened his wrinkled face. “Down from Canada, hey?”

As far as I knew, Newfoundland was still part of Canada, but I nodded.

“Phonse Flynn,” he said, holding out a callused hand. “I’m the janitor over to St. Jude’s.”

“Rachel,” I said. “Rachel O’Brien.”

“I knows you’re staying with Lucille,” he said. “I’ll show you where she’s at.”

With an agility that belied his age, he dismounted and gently lowered his bike to the ground. Then he pointed across the bay. “Lucille’s place is over there, luh.”

Above a sagging wharf, I saw a path that cut through the rocky landscape towards a smattering of houses. I’d been intrigued at the prospect of a boarding house; it sounded Dickensian. Now I was uneasy. What if it was awful?

“What about your bike?” I asked, as Phonse was now standing by the passenger-side door of my car.

“Ah, sure it’s grand here,” he said. “I’ll come back for it by and by.”

“Aren’t you going to lock it?”

I thought of all the orphaned bike wheels locked to racks in Toronto, their frames long since ripped away. Jake had been livid when his racing bike was stolen. Not that I was thinking about Jake. I absolutely was not.

“No need to lock anything ’round here,” said Phonse.

I fumbled with my car keys, embarrassed to have locked the car from habit.

“Need some help?”

“The lock’s a bit stiff,” I said. “I’ll get used to it.”

Phonse waited while I jiggled in vain. Then he walked around and held out his hand. I gave him the key, he stuck it in and the knob on the inside of the car door popped up immediately.

“Handyman, see,” he said. “Wants a bit of oil, I allows. But like I said, no need to lock ’er. Anyway, with that colour, who’d steal it?” I had purchased the car over the phone, partly for its price, partly for its colour. Green had been Dad’s favourite colour, and when the salesman said mountain green, I’d imagined a dark, verdant shade. Instead, with its scattered rust garnishes, the car looked like a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Still, it would fit right in. I eyeballed the houses as we drove along: garish orange, lime green, blinding yellow. Maybe there had been a sale on paint.

As we passed the church, Phonse blessed himself, fingers moving from forehead to chest, then on to each shoulder. I kept both hands firmly on the steering wheel.

“Where’s the main part of Little Cove?” I asked.

“You’re looking at it.”

There was nothing but a gas station and a takeout called MJ’s, where a clump of teenagers was gathered outside, smoking. A tall, dark-haired boy pointed at my car and they all turned to stare. A girl in a lumber jacket raised her hand. I waved back before I realized she was giving me the finger. Embarrassed, I peeked sideways at Phonse. If he’d noticed, he didn’t let on.

Although Phonse was passenger to my driver, I found myself thinking of Matthew Cuthbert driving Anne Shirley through Avonlea en route to Green Gables. Not that I’d be assigning romantic names to these landmarks. Anne’s “Snow Queen” cherry tree and “Lake of Shining Waters” were nowhere to be seen. It was more like Stunted Fir Tree and Sea of Grey Mist. And I wasn’t a complete orphan; it merely felt that way.

At the top of a hill, Phonse pointed to a narrow dirt driveway on the right. “In there, luh.”

I parked in front of a small violet house encircled by a crooked wooden fence. A rusty oil tank leaned into the house, as if seeking shelter. When I got out, my nose wrinkled at the fishy smell. Phonse joined me at the back of the car and reached into the trunk for my suitcases.

“Gentle Jaysus in the garden,” he grunted. “What have you got in here at all? Bricks?” He lurched ahead of me towards the house, refusing my offer of help.

The contents of my suitcases had to last me the entire year; now I was second-guessing my choices. My swimsuit and goggles? I wouldn’t be doing lengths in the ocean. I looked at the mud clinging to my sneakers and regretted the suede dress boots nestled in tissue paper. But I knew some of my decisions had been right: a raincoat, my portable cassette player, stacks of homemade tapes, my hair straighteners and a slew of books.

When Phonse reached the door, he pushed it open, calling, “Lucille? I got the new teacher here. I expect she’s wore out from the journey.” As he heaved my bags inside, a stout woman in a floral apron and slippers appeared: Lucille Hanrahan, my boarding house lady.

“Phonse, my son, bring them bags upstairs for me now,” she said.

I said I would take them but Lucille shooed me into the hall, practically flapping her tea towel at me. “No, girl,” she said. “You must be dropping, all the way down from Canada. Let’s get some grub in you before you goes over to the school to see Mr. Donovan.”

Patrick Donovan, the school principal, had interviewed me over the phone. I was eager to meet him.

“Oh, did he call?” I asked.


Lucille smoothed her apron over her belly, then called up the stairs to ask Phonse if he wanted a cup of tea. There was a slow beat of heavy boots coming down. “I’ll not stop this time,” said Phonse. “But Lucille, that fence needs seeing to.”

Lucille batted her hand at him. “Go way with you,” she said. “It’s been falling down these twenty years or more.” But as she showed him out, they talked about possible repairs, the two of them standing outside, pointing and gesturing, oblivious to the falling rain.

A lump of mud fell from my sneaker, and I sat down on the bottom step to remove my shoes. When Lucille returned, she grabbed the pair, clacked them together outside the door to remove the remaining mud, then lined them up beside a pair of sturdy ankle boots.

I followed her down the hall to the kitchen, counting the curlers that dotted her head, pink outposts in a field of black and grey.

“Sit down over there, luh,” she said, gesturing towards a table and chairs shoved against the back window. I winced at her voice; it sounded like the classic two-pack-a-day rasp.

The fog had thickened, so nothing was visible outside; it was like watching static on TV. There were scattered cigarette burns on the vinyl tablecloth and worn patches on the linoleum floor. A religious calendar hung on the wall, a big red circle around today’s date. September’s pin-up was Mary, her veil the exact colour of Lucille’s house. I was deep in Catholic territory, all right. I hoped I could still pass for one.

Excerpted from New Girl in Little Cove by Damhnait Monaghan, Copyright © 2021 by Damhnait Monaghan

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I could not believe this book was a debut novel!!  I will definitely be reading more of her books.  This story was filled with character you will fall in love with.  I have never traveled to Newfoundland but I feel like I have now been there!!  I love books that take you to another place and this one certainly makes you feel like you are there.  If want to read a heartwarming book that makes you sad when it ends -- this one is for you!!
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Many readers of this lovely book are calling it charming, and I have to agree with them. Damhnait Monaghan does  a fabulous job of bringing her readers into the world of Rachel O'Brien, who moves from Toronto to LIttle Cove, Newfoundland, to begin a new life. But that's not so easy, since some of the folks in Little Cove think the job Rachel came for, that of teacher, should have been filled by a local. Much of the beauty of this book rests in the characters, who are so rich they lift off the page,. Rachel herself is a delight, and then we have the secondary characters rounding out the book: the unwilling students, the four local gossips (called the hookers), fellow teacher Doug Bishop, and more. Furthermore, Monaghan brings to life the setting so well. With her focus on the language differences, the culture, and music, she drew this reader into the book even more. I'm looking forward to reading more from Damhnait Monaghan!
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New Girl in Little Cove by Damhnait Monaghan is an amazing, moving, emotional tale of a woman taking a job, teaching French, in the fishing village of Little Cove, Newfoundland, leaving mainland Canada and in need of regrouping. Rachel O’Brien discovers that the town of Little Cove is a world away, their dialect, their sense of community, their beliefs, and culture, and their distrust of mainlanders.  Rachel isn’t surprised to find her students not interested in learning French but she is surprised to discover she barely understands their English; at least until a fellow teacher, Doug Bishop, hands her a book explaining the language. Rachel soon finds herself drawn to the island’s traditional music as well as involved in the personal lives of her grumpy, yet softhearted landlady, Lucille, her reluctant students, and a friendship with Doug. 

Ms. Monaghan wrote a story full of warmth, humor, romance, and the quirkiest community of characters that will charm even the most jaded reader. I found myself becoming invested in the characters, laughing out loud, or even leaking a few tears while reading this delightful tale. I highly recommend New Girl in Little Cove to other readers.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
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During the pandemic, I have spent hours with Spotify catching me up on all of the Broadway musicals I could find. "Come From Away" is one of my favorites, and it came to mind while reading New Girl in Little Cove.

After her father's death and her boyfriend does something completely unthinkable, Rachel O'Brien accepts a job in a very small town in Newfoundland. She's going to be the French teacher at a Catholic high school. We won't mention that while she was raised Catholic, she's not much of a church-going one. After all, what the school doesn't know won't hurt them.

In Little Cove, Rachel isn't quite sure what to make of this town where everyone knows everyone else's business. Worse, she can't make heads or tails of their take on the English language. She's already struggling to teach French to students who don't care, but when she has teens calling her names she doesn't know, it's even worse. 

The one bright spot in Rachel's life is another new teacher. Doug is charming, sexy, and one of the best parts of her move to Newfoundland. There's one big problem. Doug has a girlfriend.

New Girl in Little Cove is set in the 1980s, so readers do need to be prepared for some of the differences between now and then. You didn't have cell phones. Computers were newer. Reading books you got at the library, listening to cassette tapes, etc. were the things teens did at the time.

I loved this story. It doesn't rush from one issue to the next. It doesn't come off as unrealistic or forced. It's a well-written, absorbing story of starting over.

Damhnait Monaghan made me fall in love with Little Cove. I already decided that Newfoundland sounds like a charming place to call home after reading the true story behind "Come From Away." This book secured that belief. I would love it there.
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Rachel O’Brien has left her life and troubles behind in Toronto and heads to Little Cove, Newfoundland to be a French teacher in a local school. When she arrives in town, she may have bitten off more than she can handle.

Soon Rachel finds herself immersed in a new way of life along with a new language she is struggling to understand. Along the way she meets many new friends, a few foes and a bunch of students who are not that excited about learning French. Throw in a group of older women called the hookers, a man name Phonse who teaches her the fiddle, a few trips to a local pub, and a handsome teacher in her school, Rachel soon finds that life in a small town may be just what she needs.

I honestly think that this novel by Damhnait Monaghan is one of the best novels I had read to date. When I started, I could not stop turning the pages. As a fellow Canadian, I just had to giggle at how Rachel had to learn the language of Newfoundlanders, as I have had the pleasure of having many friends from Newfoundland.  There are too many quirky sayings to quote, so trust me, you will want to pick up this book to see what I am talking about. Every character brought so much warmth and humor to the story along with real life struggles they were facing. We as readers get to watch the characters develop in such a brilliant way, they become family before we even know it. I also enjoyed learning about Newfoundland, their language and their history. I am now more anxious to visit for myself. Thank you so much to Harlequin Publishing, Damhnait Monaghan, and Netgalley for an advanced copy of the book to read and review for my honest opinions. A solid five stars!
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I’ve never been to Newfoundland, but I feel as though I would know what to expect after reading this book - even though it’s set in the mid 1980s, the sheer character of Little Cove, population hardly anybody, comes across strongly. From the ‘hookers’ - four older women who get together to hook rugs and gossip - to the high school kids just looking for a way out into the big wide world, to the Catholic priest doing his best to impose strict morality on the entire town, everyone feels so incredibly real.

While there is a romance here, I’d call this more women’s fiction than romance because the heart of the story is Rachel’s emotional journey. Arriving in Little Cove to take up the position of French teacher - after her predecessor ran off with a priest - Rachel is up against it from the beginning as several people make it clear they think her job should have been filled by a local. She finds everything about the locals somewhat incomprehensible, from their own dialect to their habit of drinking condensed milk in their tea or coffee. She has a good heart, though, and ultimately that’s what leads to her winning over even the biggest cynics, as well as finding love in the process.

This is charming and gentle, and oddly, I don’t feel like it would have been all that different if it had been set today (pandemic excluded) rather than in the 80s. The issues faced by people in a small town remain the same (teen pregnancies, dangers from the environment, hurtful gossip). The only thing that really anchors it in the time period are the pop culture references - the books they are reading, the music they listen to, and the absence of the internet and mobile phones. Having been in my teens in the 80s, I found it gently nostalgic, but I’m not sure how readers under 35 or so are going to relate.

I did really enjoy this; I liked Rachel and I found the whole story both believable and charming. The story could probably have done with cutting a character or two - I did lose track of who a couple of side characters were - but overall, excellent. Five stars.
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After experiencing some upheaval in her life, Rachel needs a job. When she accepts a job at a Catholic school she knows she is short on some of the requirements, but she is determined to squeeze herself in the position. The challenges are there right from the start. For one thing, although she has a deree, she hardly has any teaching experience. What is more is that she has not practiced her faith in quite some time, thus that aspect of her new environment might be more than she is prepared to deal with.

Some other things on Rachel's plate are the students. Some simply are not into learning French. Also, considering the location, their English keeps throwing her for a loop. For all of these, and even more reasons, Rachel questions the one-year commitment she has made to the job. 

There are some things about the little town that proved appealing, one is the lovely culture in a place where time almost stood still. I loved the little nuances that made that place so unique, and it felt very special. For Rachel, fellow teacher Doug Bishop was one to watch, because she found herself more than drawn to him. As this heartwarming story progressed, Rachel found herself under sharp scrutiny at her new job, so remembering that her commitment is only for a year keeps her rooted for the time being.

I loved this story. In fact, I would love to go to Newfoundland, the location where the little town was in this book. The dialogue was great as the author used the language and accents so well in her writing that I could almost hear the characters speaking in my head. I also loved how Rachel not only sought to fit in, but learned many lessons along the way, including that proper English does not mark one's intelligence. Not only did Rachel learn a lot of new terms, readers can as well with the glossary that is included in this book. 

I am so glad for the love, friendship and other lessons that this book provided, and I loved how this lovely story came to a close, leaving me with a very warm feeling. 

Many thanks to Graydon House and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
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New Girl in Little Cove by Damhnait Monaghan

Small conservative Catholic community in need of a teacher
Novice teacher in need of change seeks it in new community
Will she be welcomed?
Will she fit in? 
Will she find what she needs?  
And how will the community react deal with this new person from away? 

Filled with community, culture, and so much more – this story drew me in, made me care, and hope for happy endings for more than one character in the story. 

What I liked: 
* The setting – having never been to Newfoundland it felt as if I was making the trip with the main character. 
* The writing: skillful, friendly, descriptive and immersive. 
* Rachel O’Brien: newly graduated, early twenties, grieving, modern, giving, good friend, caring, kind, immersed in a new culture, grows a LOT during the story, someone I admire.
* Doug Bishop: teacher of science and phys ed, probationary teacher, from Little Cover, loving son, caring, kind, intelligent, intriguing. 
* Lucille, Biddy and the rest of the hookers – wonderful, caring, giving, creative, strong, community minded women that provide social and emotional support for one another (and others)
* Patrick Donovan: Principal, knowledgeable, patient, kind, a good man, there for his teachers and students
* Students with their individual needs, problems, and potential
* The ways Rachel ended up connecting with her students and others
* The romance that slowly developed between Rachel and Doug
* Sheila’s BFF
* Rachel’s backstory
* Feeling like I was becoming part of the community/story
* The music and art elements of the story
* All of it really, except…

What I didn’t like: 
* Thinking about the sadness and loss experienced by more than one character in the story
* Knowing that too often the best option for individuals is overlooked due to moral, religious, educational or societal values. 

Did I enjoy this book? Yes
Would I read more by this author? Yes

Thank you to NetGalley and harper Collins-Graydon House-HQN for the ARC – This is my honest review. 

5 Stars
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New Girl in Little Cove by Damhnait Monaghan pulls me in from the very start with a reference to a childhood favorite – Anne of Green Gables. The charm of the book continues throughout this story about being an outsider who finds acceptance in a small community. A little romance, a beautiful setting, and an insight into Newfoundland culture, music, and language all make this a charming debut. 

Read my complete review at 

Reviewed for NetGalley and a publisher's blog tour.
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Rachel, a young French teacher, trades in mainland Canada to teach at a Catholic high school in a small town on the island of Newfoundland. Set in 1985, isolated from her friends and family back home and trying to escape the recent death of her father, can Rachel help her students without judging their parents for being set in their ways and traditions?

"Sometimes you come across a student who seems past help, but when you finally reach them, it turns out that the troublemaker is merely a lost soul."

OK I’ll admit it. When I first received an advance copy of this book, I was not excited. But, boy was I wrong! This was a cute, fun, heartwarming tale about a teacher's year abroad. She thought she was there to teach but instead, she learns so many great lessons from her fellow teachers, townspeople, and students. If you love stories set in small towns, then be sure to try this one. With the inclusion of the Newfoundland accent/dialect, you'll feel fully immersed in the lives of the people who live in this quaint, charming town.

Location: Little Cove, a fictitious town in Newfoundland, Canada

I received an advance copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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