Cover Image: The Quarryman's Girl

The Quarryman's Girl

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

For some reason, I thought this was a continuation of another book I read by the author. I kept looking out for familiar characters only to be disappointed (not least because it has been a long time since I read the first and obviously do not remember all the characters).
The author has a very distinct style. The narration is character heavy, dipping in and out of individual lives in order to give us a complete picture of all their facets.
Rose is an old woman. She clings to the stories of her unusual childhood. The one son who keeps an eye on her frequently is concerned for her safety, especially since her mind seems to go wandering a little too often. In this endeavour, the local 'ragman's' son needs some work done in return, for which he offers to keep an eye on Rose and do some odd jobs around the house. The ultimate goal is to write a paper on historical facts that Rose has knowledge of.
As days move on, the war calls up people, Rose's estranged sister moves in, and there are a lot more upheavals. I liked the individual pieces that made the book. Each instance provides a picture of a different time and place. It took me a long time to work my way through the book for its size, however. I am usually a quick reader, and the pacing (which made sense, given the content) put me off a little.
It is a different kind of book and is for the more peaceful reader. It is immersive historical fiction, with the immersion including mundane day-to-day activities for better understanding.
I would recommend it to fans of the genre!
I received an ARC thanks to Netgalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.

Was this review helpful?

Rose Dowd has Vince, her youngest son, to help her meet day-to-day challenges since her husband passed on. As teens, she and estranged sister Izzy were left in Quincy after her large Irish family left Quebec and Quincy for Manitoba.

There are a number of threads interweaving through the well-paced and plotted narrative and we get to know each of the fully fleshed characters, care about them, invest in them. Descriptions of scenes are well drawn.

Nate, the “Ragman’s Son” is sent to perform handyman jobs at Rose’s home and report to Vince her slips of memory. Izzy, her sharp tongue alienating more than immediate family, has a crisis of her own that may force Rose to deal with the upheaval that caused their catastrophic rift so many years ago.

Oh, so bittersweet, examining the hurts, the love, the physical as well as the mental constraints that bind family and friends as easily as isolate. A unique story that scrutinizes senior cognitive decline, betrayal, aspirations, and hopefully reconciliation.

The tension builds with raw emotion alternately filled with wry pops of humor. It’s written in an intelligent, sensitive, and articulate style that pulls in the reader and doesn’t let go. The conclusion is both heartbreaking and tearfully satisfying and is heartily recommended. Not just family drama. Truly literary magic.

Was this review helpful?