A Novel

Paperback - 2010
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When she makes the chance discovery of a framed sepia photograph of her grandmother and her twin sister, RCMP Constable Arabella Dryvynsydes decides to investigate how a picture taken in 1914 in the mining town of Extension, B.C. wound up at a garage sale in small-town Saskatchewan almost one hundred years later. As Arabella sifts through caches of long-forgotten letters and unearths long-buried memories, she pieces together the heartbreaking truth of her family history and resolves a nearly century-old murder. In her debut novel, Myrna Dey skillfully moves back and forth between two time periods and two memorably resourceful heroines.
Publisher: Edmonton, Alta. : NeWest Press, c2010.
ISBN: 9781897126684
Characteristics: 358 pages :,illustrations, portraits ;,24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Nothof, Anne - Editor


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Apr 23, 2019

This book was interesting for me as much for the in-depth knowledge of the locales as much as for the story. Without being stilted or ennumerative, the author paints the geographic surroundings well; as does she paint the personalities that make up Arabella's extended family and circle of friends and acquaintances. I know the Nanaimo/Extension/Ladysmith area and some of the parts of the Lower Mainland that Arabella moves through, and I could see her routes and the landmarks she sees. I also appreciated the daily life of a police officer, both dangerous and mundane, that we share with Arabella. The story itself of the twins, their mother, and their descendants had me confused sometimes, and got untangled only through the repetition of the relationships. No doubt many readers recognized some of their own family tree as they read this story, and were reminded like I was that not all of us have the curiousity to meet lost relatives. Jeopardy quiz show does hold more appeal for some than does learning about their heritage. I do wish the chapter headings had the narrator's name as titles and the symbols been omitted, but that is a minor issue.

Nov 16, 2013

I am obviously in a minority (the books won People's Choice for the Giller), but I found this story, obviously based on family history, just too domestic with nothing of interest to say.

Sep 11, 2012

The best book I have read in a long, long time.

Jul 23, 2012

Wonderfull novel about love, family, connections and the immigrant experience.

branch_reviews May 11, 2012

A treasured old photograph was Arabella’s grandmother’s only memento of her long-dead twin. So why is there an exact copy of it in a garage sale in rural Saskatchewan? The many threads of the story are woven together in the alternating voices of Arabella, an RCMP constable, and her great-grandmother Jane, who came to Vancouver Island in the late 1800s with her Welsh mining family. There’s something for everyone here – a fascinating bit of Canadian history, a touching story of family relationships, and murder investigations that span more than a century. This is Saskatchewan author Myrna’s Dey’s first novel; it was the People’s Choice nominee for the 2011 Giller Prize longlist.
Reviewed by JS

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